When Nashville-based ambient/post-rock duo Hammock release an album it is almost always accompanied by a chain of thought that stirs the human mind. While their previous release “Mysterium” highlighted the darkness associated with death and grief, Hammock’s latest album “Universalis” propels the listener towards the hope and solace associated with the concept of light.
Although the album, in its entirety, portrays the upward movement towards light, “Universalis” should not be mistaken as what one might call a happy album. The feelings of hope, solace and satisfaction shimmer throughout with touches of glorified melancholy lurking here and there. Songs such as “Scattering Light,” “Cliffside” and “Always Before Your Eyes” administer the fact that this album is about the journey towards achieving solace, satisfaction and peace, and it is the journey that matters and not the destination.
Through immersive soundscapes and absorbing melodies, the album depicts that life is as much about connecting with things around you as it is about connecting with your own self. It conveys that emotions should be embraced and shared, and not kept hidden. Only then can true connectivity between human beings be achieved.
One could say that this album has shades of their 2006 release “Raising Your Voice… Trying to Stop an Echo” and 2005’s “Kenotic”. But it is not just that. In terms of sound, “Universalis” is almost spiritual in nature. It strings together a bit of deep ambient, a bit of post-rock, a bit of neo-classical and a bit of orchestral music (with abundant string arrangements) to form an aural experience that transcends the boundaries of genres and forms a cohesive unit that is soulful music. In short, it can be said that “Universalïs” depicts the universal nature of Hammock’s sound. This album also cements Hammock’s new direction towards orchestral and neo-classical music which began with “Mysterium.”
Overall, it can be said that “Universalis” is a journey towards light beyond an ambient dreamscape.
~ The Monk
Listen to "Universalis" below: