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Marc Carlton - Winter Diary CD (album) cover


Marc Carlton


Crossover Prog

4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Winter Diary" is the 10th album by multi-instrumentalist Marc Carlton. I say 10th album, but interestingly on his website this album comes under special projects rather than albums. The other special projects listed appear to be soundtracks but this album as he describes on the website as a mixture of old, re-recorded pieces and fresh new music. I personally would class it as an album which is why I've called it his 10th album because he has created something new here and with the new pieces it does bring about a different jigsaw.

Marc also describes this as his simplest works since "Voices through endless walls" which was his second album. Although I have the first 3 albums, I haven't given them a proper listen yet. Unlike his albums between, his 4th album "Still" right up until this album "Winter Diary" which came out last year where I have now reviewed all the albums from "Still" onwards. But anyway onto "Winter Diary". Why does Carlton describe this as simple? Well, if you have listened to Carlton's work over the years, he generally mixes between different instruments including guitars (acoustic and electric), mellotrons, piano, keyboards and even bongos. But in "Winter Diary" the star of the show and what the album is centred around is the acoustic guitar. You will find on most tracks he uses 2 acoustic guitars giving the pieces depth as they act as layers. That's not to say other instruments don't appear on the album as piano, mellotron and synthesiser do appear in places.

It might be synths that start off the album but I'm not 100% but I do know it's a wind type effect which flows through the first track really adding to the concept of the album which I imagine to be a cold winter's day with a cold breeze flowing through the air. It sets the tone and the imagery for the album well. This is also how the album finishes giving the album closure. One thing which amazes me about Carlton is his ability to change moods and feelings of a track using just an acoustic guitar. This can be within tracks and tracks 8, "Ask me" and particularly track 10 "The eyes of all ways" are prime examples of this. These tracks are good on face value, but I feel sometimes you can appreciate them even more if you just let your imagination run wild and really allow the music in and to make up your own story about the music.

Marc almost nudges you in the direction for this album of thinking about being out for a walk on a cold winters day and the elements being unpredictable and ever changing. For most of the album it is quite a pleasant walk and Marc does this by playing the acoustic guitar in a gentle plucking way giving you a warm feeling of the sun being out but going through the snow. But through the darker passages Marc uses more aggressive strumming which to me reflects the storms you are going through on the walk. I would say my favourite piece on the album is "Clay trees" really as you might have guessed it for the guitar work is particularly to my tastes. But I feel over the 11 tracks, having not listened to the original tracks were re- recorded for this album everything seems to fit together nicely.

I saw an interview recently with prog legend Steven Wilson who said he looks at his guitar now and thinks he has completed it and does not really know where else to go with it. Well Steven you should listen to "Winter Diary" and be well and truly amazed because this is a master class of what can be done with an acoustic guitar. Once again Carlton has shown just how talented he is, there is a few storms to navigate but what is the fun in everything being plain sailing. It keeps it interesting and is such a nice listen.

The Rain Man | 4/5 |


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