Mantrasphere (12 track cd)

Hello Eaters of The Rottenmeats!

An advance copy of a self-published debut album has found its way into Mr Bucca’s hand, and I have to say I’ve been mightily impressed with it. Readers and regulars of Rottenmeats will have to suspend their normal musical extremes to hear this one out, but bear with me. (You’ll note as well a serious tone to my keyboard meanderings today – I’ve spent a very pleasant hour zoning out to the following…)

Produced by Barry Andrews of Shriekback and XTC fame, the album ‘Mantrasphere’ by Hugh Carroll contains 12 tracks of sublime head music: acoustic guitar entangled with chants and mantras in a completely beguiling and entrancing way.

I had a chat with Hugh the other day regarding the development of the album. It found its genesis when he suffered a serious fall whilst working as a circus performer in 1991. This experience lead Hugh through a long (and ongoing) process of recovery, the traces of which resonate through the music. During that process, he has developed a deep love of Buddhism which enabled him to cope with both the trauma and the illness which followed. (Rottenmeats lovers of drone and musical repetition take note – the roots of much of what you enjoy find a resonance in some of the practices of Eastern culture - and you might find the cross-over extremely interesting.)

So, with Mantrasphere you have a genre (and prejudice) defying collision – this isn’t anodine 'relaxation' music but a passionate search for the universal and transcendent in the midst of the personal and tragic, an artists manifestation of an inner journey. I’ve been blown away by it – not only is it very moving in its own right, but it forced me to take a longer look at my own musical preconceptions and restrictions.

Please have a look at Hugh’s website for some clips and sample tracks here. The album will be fully released in the next few weeks – and I’m hoping will be followed up with some dates (I’m suggesting he contacts The Croft, as the intimate venue of the front room would be ideal).

Sam Bucca