UNSUNG … This album – a rare solo outing by Martyn Bates – is a collection of voice/guitar pieces that fixes itself firmly in the territory of the SONG –words and music denuded to core elements and eschewing the elaborations that pepper many latter day Eyeless in Gaza/ Bates recordings. Emerging from a wealth of sessions that center around Bates’ and Alan Trench’s TWELVE THOUSAND DAYS project – the idea for the UNSUNG collection arose organically. UNSUNG is unusual in the canon of Bates’ solo works, being the first for some time not to feature Peter Becker as either artist or producer, being co-produced by Bates and Alan Trench.
UNSUNG … NOT OF THE WORLD. Two people, two souls engaged in a project not of the world – which is, simply, to love. This strength and fragility is the central issue explored in the lyrics and music of UNSUNG … this place, where ‘‘the four winds are walking, while the whole world is sleeping … among the caustic, with the heart set free where the Sun knows when you weep – where you watch the world change, and turn around me and you in a muted music that no one knows better than you yourself : where you read your way to me, where I read my way to you … where, love came to our door, and we journeyed in a maze of dreams – where we live for those hours, those times beyond everyday beliefs …’’
With Unsung Eyeless in Gaza mainstay Martyn Bates takes on the more traditional role as a singer-songwriter, armed solely with his guitar for accompaniment, save for the occasional sparse colouring. One could perhaps be excused for thinking that there possibly could not be much to add to the singer-songwriter modus operandi. But as we know from the past history of Martyn Bates and Eyeless In Gaza, they invent, they do new things, they sound fresh over and over again. So this is exciting, indeed!
From initial listenings to the album, one happily fails to find anything reminiscent of the new breed of singer-songwriters. Here, in contrast, you find someone who plays and sings as if no one has ever done any singing accompanied only by his own guitar playing before. The lyrics are thoughtful, the music is lush and different, the voice is superb and the music is respectful of the intelligence of the listener. Still the music is certainly not dull or gloomy, but spirited and infectious. I think you will agree … – – Jerry Nilson