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Marc Hannaford: "Polar"

img  Tobias

With “Polar”, young Australian musician Marc Hannaford is presenting a highly unusual album - unusual because of its outright denial of the need for a traditional cause of action. As a piano player Hannaford has already achieved important recognition among his peers and cultural institutions advocating musical accomplishments. Without doubt, he is deserving of the praise.

On "Polar", the piano dances away in a rare and boundlessly-excessive freestyle. Even a term like Free Jazz merely delivers a crude hint of what is really happening in Hannaford’s music. The music is as unpredictable as the type of sudden gush you get after opening a well-shaken bottle of champagne. Powerful fragments remain rudimentary forms of expression, only to drown away in stills of no more than adumbrated melodies. Not a single part of these compositions wants to stand for itself – nor does Hannaford strive for a regular structure or any structure at all for that matter.

And yet, while listening there always remains this momentum of friction and curiosity provoked by the weird story we anxiously try to follow. And while there seems to be a solution and something like an appendage, it’s being blown away both forcefully or peacefully, in the process.

While this may sound pretty disturbing to some, the music is not. Rarely have I found an album  so relaxing and provoking at the same time. Especially ‘The Book of Sands’ is a perfectly told story that could go on forever; it’s a story designed to suck the listener in and spit him out again when the last piano note died down into empty space. It’s an adventurous journey we wish would continue forever…

Rightfully the last track on the album is called ‘No Further Correspondence’. The title sounds very fitting for a last track. But it reveals a lot more: Music and art play the role of an equally balanced duality between the artist and his audience. While the compositions may lead the correspondence, the consignee and his reactions form the indispensable counterpart. In this context, Hannaford's desire and probable reason for his musical ‘raison d’etre’ are all the more clear and justified.

“Polar” is an impressive and remarkable creation. It sure is as far away from mainstream music as the equator is from either polar region. Nonetheless the power and strength of this seemingly unruly phenomenon is based on its undeniable ability to provoke and ignite powerfully emotional reactions in those who listen. One would wish for music like this to serve as a directory for many musicians to come. 

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Marc Hannaford
Homepage: Extreme Records

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