Hugh Marsh lays down in the snow, announces new album Violinvocations

Hugh Marsh lays down in the snow, announces new album Violinvocations
Photo: Jen Squires

The fervently busy electric violinist Hugh Marsh has returned with his first solo album since 2006’s Hugmars. Marsh calls the songs on the album “tone poems” in a press release, stream-of-consciousness invocations in which he speaks through his violin into a series of pedals that coax and bend the instrument into something new. The project was inspired by a challenge between Marsh and fellow composer and collaborator Jon Hassell, wherein Marsh had to complete one recording a day for 180 days…but by 10 a.m. each morning.

These kinds of limitations tend to produce interesting results. Marsh lived with Hassell during the six months it took to record Violinvocations in LA. So, in a sense, the album traces the outlines of his life during that time period, captured in a “marathon of recording” that encapsulates his mind. But don’t let all the lush, rolling hills of sonic snow fool you — there’s a lot going on on this record, and Marsh produces a staggering variety of sounds with his instrument, from pops and squeaks to industrial groans, and solitary, elegiac melodies. There’s even a moment where Marsh appears to be trying to communicate with a Bobcat through Hendrix-style dive bombs, with remarkable affect.

You can stream the first song off the album, “I Laid Down in The Snow” — in which a pleasantly wet, cold sound somehow warms the blood while a wandering, whining melody plods over the surface like a furry white mammal lost in the tundra — right now down below. Violinvocations is out in full on February 15. In the mean time, peep the stunning cover art and pre-order a physical copy of the album from Bandcamp or Western Vinyl.

Violinvocations tracklisting:

01. I Laid Down in the Snow
02. Miku Murmuration
03. Thirtysix Hundred Grandview
04. The Rain Gambler
05. A Beautiful Mistake
06. Da Solo Non Solitaro
07. Across the Aether
08. She Will

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