Mercurial State





Chris Parker 2003

"G. P. Hall's last tour of Britain , "Moving the Mountain", in which he played in venues
from the Isle of Lewis to Southend, was promoted by publicity material describing his
music as "soundscapes of the spirit", provided by "guitars and beyond". 

The latter tag perfectly encapsulates his live approach: using an extraordinary
assortment of electronic paraphernalia, in addition to aids ranging from toys
and battery shavers to cheeping mechanical crickets, he creates what can
only be described as sound sculptures. 

Some are "industrial", utilising heavy drum beats and brooding synthesized
washes under soaring electric guitar sounds; others are filigree-delicate,
featuring finger-picked classical guitar, often set against a shimmering backdrop
of softly chiming chords or tellingly interspersed with vigorous Flamenco-style
flourishes.

Mercurial State is mainly comprised of such acoustic material. 
Setting the tone with the affectingly simple " Temple of Dreams " and the
straightforwardly emotive "Barcelona Sunrise", Hall explores a wide range
of the gentler emotions in a characteristically rich and varied selection of
compositions.

Among his more obvious influences is Flamenco, made overt in the album's tour
de force, "Homage to Manitas de Plata", and also subtly infusing many other
pieces, but Hall's overall sound is wholly individual, enabling him to move with
complete assurance from the quasi- programmatic the careful, neat steps of 
"Tightrope Walker", the surging beauty of "Spray of Waves", the unpredictable
power of "Loose Cannon" to the intensely personal: the plaintive swoon of 
"Heartstrings", the heart-on-sleeve intimacy of "Supreme Love", the quiet but
unshakable confidence of "Moving the Mountain".

If a live performance by G. P. Hall is all drama, rooted in dynamic and textural
variety not to mention the fascination of witnessing just how he produces his
amazing plethora of sounds his recordings showcase a more contemplative but
none the less absorbing side to his art, and none to date has been more
unfussily virtuosic or more satisfying than Mercurial State."


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