Top Ten of 2012 – Number 8. Brambles – Charcoal


I never wrote a review of this record so this is not just a brief ‘why I like it’ piece but a full review of what is one of the best finds of 2012 for me.

I was sent this record by Fraser McGowan one evening when I’d been struggling to sleep.  I stuck on my headphones and lay awake in the dark with my mind buzzing.  As the music filtered out of the laptop and into my ears something quite amazing happened.  The buzzing started to stop and a calm, like I’d not felt in a long time, came over me.  As I lay in the dark of the room, the only light from my lap top, I was reminded of the power of music not only as a device for pleasure but as a device for complete and utter peace.

Brambles is Mark Dawson and ‘Charcoal’ is a master piece on contemplation and quiet.  Its beauty lies in the simplicity of structure yet the record is dense and varied.  The opening three tracks are almost perfect accompaniments to the solitude one feels in the night, with ‘In the Androgynous Dark’ a true ode to silence of sound and sight.  Its simple piano line, repeated over and over, accompanied by subtle and beautiful drums, could not capture a moment more perfectly than it did for me walking across ‘Jawbone Walk’ in the cold and wet one evening after work.   And the rest of the record has a similar tone and feel.  It’s not complex in its structure but its composition is perfect and its impact astounding.

And that’s the true beauty of this record, its ability to connect with you when you need it most.  Alone in the dark with a buzzing mind or cold and wet walking home after a long day at the office.  This record will not only stun you with its peaceful beauty but it will take you to another world.  A world that we all want to live in really.  One that everything is always ok.  You really should check it out as soon as you can.  Another great release from the excellent Serin.