Last year Gil Hockman released a five-song album entitled All The Things. It was an impressive collection of songs that at its core relied on acoustic guitar and Hockman’s vocals to carry the songs. Hockman is back with an eleven- song album entitled Dolorous that builds upon the foundation that All The Things set in place. It also shows that Hockman isn’t afraid to experiment and get out of his comfort zone. He implements subtle and not so subtle electronic components on a couple of songs that actually had me thinking about Notwist.
The production is top notch all around. All the instruments lay where they are supposed to be. The low end is defined, his vocals sound great and the highs never sounded shrill.
Hockman starts off the album with “Dolorous,” which is a really good song but I thought it was a bit of an odd choice to get things going because of the slow pace and melancholy. The song is sparse and revolves an acoustic guitar, Hockman’s vocals and atmospheric components. Hockman’s lyrics are poetic and ambiguous as he sings “I hear the words come out of your mouth / But I'm sinking in the bathtub / On a Thursday after work / I suppose I need some looking after.” The energy is increased a bit with the second track but is still smothered in melancholy. As the song progresses it really starts to take off as distortion and percussion come into the mix. Hockman really hits the sweet spot about three-and-a-half minutes in as he sings, “I'm only here to say goodbye I'm only here because it's time.”
One of the highlights was “NIght Bird,” which was a very infectious tracks. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of acoustic guitar, drums and synths. HIs vocals sound thick and layered as if his voice is covering the entire frequency spectrum. “Seasons” might be the most experimental track on the album. Hockman utilizes a fat sounding warbly bass synth and also implements impressive overlapping vocal harmonies. The song feels the lightest and most carefree on the album.
“On My Own” introduces more instruments as well new areas of exploration for Hockman. The song is heavy with percussion as Hockman lays down shakers, handclaps as well as a traditional drum set. You won’t want to pass over this one.
Both “White” and “Pass The Ball” sound like straight up electronic compositions. Hockman’s electronics sound somewhere between Lali Puna and Burial. The last song “Far Away” is a five-plus-minute song that introduces some horns to accompany his guitar and vocals.
Hockman makes some bold leaps on Dolorous and my only complaint was that the sequential order was a bit jarring. With that being said Hockman’s songwriting just seems to be getting better and he knows what works in the studio. This is a very fine effort from Hockman and is highly recommended.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook