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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

One World

John Martyn

1977

One World
Album Summary

One World is the seventh studio album by British guitarist and singer John Martyn, released in November 1977 by Island Records. The album, produced by Island owner Chris Blackwell at his Berkshire farm, was recorded with a myriad of musicians, including Steve Winwood, Danny Thompson, John Stevens, Hansford Rowe and Rico. The album followed a sabbatical where, at Blackwell's invite, Martyn holidayed in Jamaica in 1976 with his family, having become disillusioned with the music business. The trip helped revitalise his interest in music. The album combines Martyn's experimental tendencies with more pop-leaning material, with influences from the dub music of Lee "Scratch" Perry, with whom Martyn worked during the trip to Jamaica and co-wrote the song "Big Muff". The record features a relaxing, echoing sound with usage of Martyn's distinctive Echoplex guitar effects, while his lyrics discuss love, specific people and his disintegrating marriage. Some of the recording was achieved outdoors, with Island's mobile recording studio being used to operate a live feed across the farm's surrounding lake; microphones picked up the full ambience of the area, including natural reverb and surrounding geese and trains, helping contribute to the album's sweeping sound.Upon its release, One World received acclaim from music critics who hailed its inventive, unique sound and lyrics. Martyn toured in promotion of the album in late 1977, whilst a televised performance at the Collegiate Theatre, London in January 1978 helped the album becoming Martyn's first chart success, reaching number 54 on the UK Albums Chart. "Dancing" was released as the album's sole single a month later. In later times, the album has been credited for helping develop trip hop music. In 2004, a deluxe edition of the album was released by Island, containing bonus live material. The album is included in the music reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.84

Votes

10338
Genres
Rock
Folk
Pop
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Wed Mar 24 2021
2

NO MORE BRITISH SHIT I HAVEN'T HEARD OF

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Fri Jun 25 2021
1

a mix between garbage and porn soundtrack

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Thu Mar 18 2021
1

Make. It. Stop. Other than some instrumental work on "Small Hours", I couldn't wait for this album to be over. Anti-groove jazz.

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Mon Jun 20 2022
5

This was an inspiration. There are problems with production that at points feels dated, but once I let this go and got past some of the more late 70s/ early 80s sounds, I felt uplifted and held by this album in a way I haven't by many albums. Small Hours blew me away, it's wonderful ambient guitar over a simple pulse beat, eventually leading up to a short song, before returning to guitar and sound was perfect. It's made me want to hear more.

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Sun May 30 2021
5

This album was a 4 right up until "Small Hours." I've listened to it probably ten or more times in the last 24 hours. Easily becoming one of my favorite songs of all time. One of the most soothing, cleanest albums I've heard in a long time. Highlights: 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
4

I reviewed John Martyn's Solid Air earlier in this project, and enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Based on that, I thought I knew what to expect with this record. And was pleasantly surprised again. Much of side 2 seems like a fairly natural progression from Solid Air. Similar smooth jazz/soul/funk/folk blend, now with a touch of latin rhythms on Certain Surprise, with Martyn's foggy voice woven beautifully through the arrangements. I love his voice, which he uses like an instrument, although sometimes his slurred diction slides almost into self-parody.Take it easy, John. But side 1 is a revelation. The heavy use of effects, especially delay, and dub production techniques (without being pastiche - this is definitely not reggae) is something quite fresh. Big Muff is co-written by Lee Scratch Perry! I can see the influence, without it sounding like a Lee Scratch Perry record per se. I really loved the songs on side 1. Discretely funky, weird sounding without being abrasive, without any histrionics. I can see how these tracks (especially Big Muff and Small Hours) are cited as influences on trip hop, especially Massive Attack. This album caught me by surprise, and I really enjoyed it. Haven't heard much quite like it, and it really grabbed me (especially side 1)

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

There are some good sounds on this album, but it feels kinda sleepy to me... I also don’t dig his voice, but there are a couple good songs on this. Favorite Track(s): “Dealer” and “Couldn’t Love You More”

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Sun Jul 18 2021
2

This didn’t feel like a mediocre album of its era chasing the Beatles hype. No, it felt like a mediocre album from the 80s instead, when everyone was fascinated by bad “world music”. But hey, at least it’s ahead of its time I guess?

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Mon Aug 22 2022
2

Forgettable. One World vocals sounded like an old man on quaaluds trying to sing with apple sauce stuffed in his mouth.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
1

This album is really not my thing. Small Hours and Couldn't Love You More are pretty good, but I think my appreciation for the most divergent tracks is telling. The production is well-crafted in the sense that it's interesting, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what it adds up to. I feel like there's more artistic merit than the Supertramp record, but it's still a little indulgent and navel gaze-y. 1.5/5

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Wed Nov 18 2020
5

No lo vi venir. Parece Nick Drake. Volverlo a escuchar para darle un rating más justo.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Soft and dreamy. Talkative and calm

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

When his voice first came in, I hated it, and was preparing for an excruciating 40 minutes. But that was the only part where I noticed his voice stand out, and then in blended in to an ocean of excellence. This is the most surprising album I have had so far and is going on regular rotation.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
5

An adorable dreamy piece of work. This was my 110th on this, and I loved every moment of it. 5 stars because there aren’t 6.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
3

Sonido por completo etereo, suena como pop experimental. Tiene un problema en un bache a la mitad con dos canciones romanticas muy sosas que hacen que pierda un poco el concepto. Los sonidos de experimentación en guitarra y amplificadores no van a ser para todos pero a mi me encanto. La última canción fue lo mejor del disco. Impresionante pensar que es de 1977, casi se podría notar un atisbo de lo que va a llegar en unos años con new wave y sintetizadores.

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Tue Apr 20 2021
3

not a fan of his voice. a little like brian wilson but not as good. the sounds on smiling stranger are good though

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Mon Jan 22 2024
3

In spots, One World hits a funky experimental stride that I’d liken to late 70’s Eno (think Before and after Science, though it does have its ambient moments) or maybe Soon Over Babaluma-era Can. In others, it kind of has a jazzy 70’s soft rock vibe, which is a little less interesting to me, but overall not bad (with the exception of some scatting, which I find to be unacceptable no matter the situation). The previous John Martyn record I was assigned, Solid Air, was more enjoyable as a whole, but One World is very good, even if has a distinct late 70’s island rock vibe. I wouldn’t call this yacht rock, though, it’s way too densely layered, interesting and lacking the superficiality, but it’s adjacent in some ways - like if yacht rock wasn’t the lamest thing on earth you could ever possibly be into.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
2

Big Muff and Certain Surprise gave me the ick. Bad vibes from this album in general.

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Sun Mar 03 2024
2

Album art is interesting. The production is pretty good. The instrumentals are a little manic but often work. Choices were made on the vocals that don't pay off. Small Hours get's an honorable mention for being a nice listen. This album is probably a grower that you would learn to get comfortable with it's imperfections. I don't have the time. 2.5

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Sun Mar 03 2024
2

The description of this album vs how it sounds is a wild contrast. I expected this to be something sweeping and inspired but the vocals don't even give it a chance to go there. Not coming back to this one.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
1

This fucker wrote a song called Big Muff.

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Wed Feb 10 2021
5

I ended up listening to the Spotify suggestions for a long time after this ended

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

Very good album, nice combination of rhythms.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

Todavía no lo escucho pero con fe me gusta

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

I'm a big fan of John Martyn, particularly around this point in his career. Such a unique hybrid of influences that is miles ahead of its time. Martyn has such a natural, casual soulfulness to him that it makes his more experimental tendencies go down easy. Love that they recorded parts of the album from across a lake to capture the natural reverb/echo. Yet another example of artists creating their best work while in remote country locations.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

In July 1978 I was working for the Migrant Services Section of the Social Security Department, in Clarence St Sydney. One morning I received a phone-call from a mate who was a student at Sydney University, telling me to get my arse up to the Union Theatre (now The Footbridge) on campus, because John Martyn was playing a free concert at 1.00pm. As it turns out, this was part of a world tour to promote the album One World. I got there in time. John Martyn was late, and extremely hung-over, carrying what appeared to be an acoustic guitar with a plethora of wires coming off it (and no doubt a bunch of effects pedals). It was one of the great concerts I’ve ever attended. At the time I was only familiar with the 1970 album Road To Ruin, which he recorded with his wife, Beverley, & which is an all-time favourite of mine, so most of what I saw him play that day was unfamiliar to me, but he was in blistering form. And I imagine a lot of what he played came from this album. How lucky I was, because this is a great record. I can’t think of anything else that sounds like it. About 30 years later, a different mate gave me a dvd titled The Transatlantic Sessions, which features many great artists & includes an enthralling version of Big Muff with Martyn on guitar & Danny Thompson on double bass. Do yourself a favour & google it. This is the song he co-wrote in Jamaica with Lee Scratch Perry the year before he made the album. You also hear the great reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez on Certain Surprise. I love the fact that Chris Blackwell set up mikes in the middle of a lake on his property(where the lp was recorded) to catch whatever noises nature was providing at the time. This was way ahead of its time. Love it.

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Thu Nov 10 2022
5

Genius. Small Hours is in my all time top ten tracks. The live version (I think I saw him perform it 6 times) of Big Muff was spellbinding, A very, very sad end to possibly the best British unsung hero of contemporary music (along with Roy Harper and Nick Drake).

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Thu Mar 23 2023
5

Stick your head in the oven and crank it up to 300! We have finally hit the jackpot with this blockbuster of a record which makes me wetter than my auntie's honking, steaming pussy. The hills are alive with the sound of me wanking myself into an incestuous coma and you're all welcome to join me for the ride.

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Fri Apr 07 2023
5

Another album of John Martyn in this list and I thought I knew what I was going to get based on the other one, but nothing could be further from the truth. With a lot more experiment, range, more funk and more introverted songs on just one album, this is an incredible range of songs. I enjoyed this from start to finish.

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Thu Jul 13 2023
5

Surprising album, never heard of this. You can hear an influence on Nigel Godrich's production style, especially on Beck's "Sea Change"

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Thu Sep 14 2023
5

Really funky Clapton sounds in the first song. Pink Floyd vibes in the second song This singer has a really nice raspy funky voice I like how you can have no idea what type of song is going to come next each song is so unique. Could be funk, rock, jazz, or trippy. They way that Small Hours is the ending just being super peaceful with some nice ambient wave music was the perfect way to cap off the album. This would an excellent drugs album This is exactly what I love about this album of the day thing. I had no idea who John Martyn was going into this but now I feel like I have to learn everything about him. Absolute 5/5

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Tue Dec 12 2023
5

Super excellent background music. Voices worked well with lyrics and music

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Wed Dec 27 2023
5

great deviation from late 1970s sound here.. Whats up with the hate.. Sounds like good music thats what t sounds like guys... not like.. no no no.. guys..

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

John a surpris son monde en produisant de la très bonne musique avant l'an 2000, chose que seuls Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder et Cat Stevens ont réussi.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

I thought this was an outstanding piece of work. Really reminiscent, or more correctly influential, on music I've enjoyed in my life but first time I've consciously heard him. I can see from the write up that this isn't necessarily representative of his earlier work, but it's a fine piece of music.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

yacht prog and i’m 1000% here for it.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

Wow. I had never heard of John Martyn before this. I absolutely loved listening to this, front to back. Can hear the Jamaican influence and feel Steve Winwood's influence here. I've not heard much else quite like this, and it is so, so good.

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Thu Apr 04 2024
5

John Martyn I love when we get an album and artist I am totally unfamiliar with and really dig it. Super cool grooves and textures. I like his voice too even though I can’t make out any words. Cool fusion of styles (ambient pop/ blues). Good the whole way through. Great musicians on this record too - I love all Steve windwoods synth solos. Favorite songs are Dancing, small hours, big muff, dealer. “Couldn’t love you more”reminds me of a Dave Matthews song.

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Fri Apr 19 2024
5

Easy 5 stars! I have a distinct memory of being in my 20’s and being tasked with entertaining a relative who was in his early teens. He was looking through my iPod and commented that I have terrible taste in music. First off… rude. Second… he pointed to the song title “Big Muff” as evidence of my bad taste. He didn’t know shit

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Wed Nov 25 2020
4

Bra album kan tänka mig att lyssna igen.

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Sat Apr 10 2021
4

A fun psychy funky album, need to give it a better listen.

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Sun Jan 24 2021
4

Good album went a bit too 70s funk for my liking for this style. Some instrumentation felt a bit too forced especially earlier on in the album. Some great arrangements though.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

Very chill, peaceful, and natural-sounding. Lovely background music.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

Este es el tipo de Jazz que si me gusta, no tan experimental, nadie quiere sobresalir y a buen tempo. Solo conocía Dealer que no sabía que se llamaba así.

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Fri May 07 2021
4

So good. Lovely to listen to

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Thu Apr 08 2021
4

i really loved it, he has a great voice

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

Really interesting, as ever for John. Worth the price of admission for the final track "Small Hours" alone.

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Mon May 10 2021
4

A chill, jazzy, moody album. I like the instrumentation more than the vocals, but the low growly vocals ain't bad either.

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Mon May 31 2021
4

I wasn't sure I liked this album at first but it has some really delightful moments and I think that if I listened to it more I would get into it. I can see how this artist might have contributed to the musical styles of artists I listen to regularly today.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

Distinctly generic until Small Hours, which hits different from the rest of the album and drags this sucker out of the muck.

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Thu Apr 22 2021
4

I rly fuck w this, hes showed up in music recommendation sites when i enter music i like but ive never rly given him the time, but today i did (funnily enough i was looking at this album specifically before i checked here lmao) yeah pretty poggers pogchamp imo, listened to it twice today and plan to listen more

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Thu Apr 29 2021
4

Love it. Completely new to me. Mixing blues, jazz, reggae, and world beat. And all the sweet guitar riffs and effects. My only criticism is I’m not in love with his voice. Maybe it would grow on me. 4.0

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Mon May 10 2021
4

Soulful, and funky. Great voice. Nice diversity of songs.

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Unusual combo of funk, jazz, blues, and Dr. John. Dude can noodle, too. Dig it.

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Wed May 19 2021
4

Funky Af. Small hours. Wow. Excellent.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Very interesting, like early Sade and precursor to elevator music but in a good way.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
4

I hadn't listened to John Martyn before, a really great discovery. Textured sound, many layers and influences, takes you to unexpected places, ahead of his time. Will definitely explore more of his work

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

Dangerous, psychedelic yacht rock that morphs into early post-rock by the end? I'm a fan.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

For the first time in this project, I was very positively surprised by an artist I had never heard of before. This is very intriguing to listen to, with its wild mix of different styles and his very unique voice.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

This was really cool to find. I've never heard of this guy. Seems super ahead of its time and influential.

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Mon Oct 11 2021
4

So breezy, smooth, and creative. Loved it!

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Fri Oct 22 2021
4

I like everything going on except the vocals. They sound weak and winded. Like the guy just ran 6 flights of stairs to get to the studio. Big Muff is a good tune. I am really torn on this album, but I think there is enough here to merit me coming back to it.

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Sun Nov 07 2021
4

Rock, pop. Extrañamente interesante.

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Wild, interesting album from someone I knew nothing about.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
4

I liked this not as much as the other John Martyn though

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

Zzzzzzzzvvvvrrrrrr ZzzzzzzzGgggguuuuuuudddd ZZZZaaaallllbbbmmmmmzzzz

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Mon Jul 11 2022
4

Man, I loved hearing this album. I knew and loved the tracks Couldn't Love You More, and Small Hours already, but it was excellent to hear all the album cuts. Dude's voice was a jazz instrument, and his playing acoustic-like-it's-an-electric guitar playing is pioneering and totally cool too. Gonna deep dive his catalogue now. THIS is the reason I'm on this listening journey!

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Mon Sep 12 2022
4

Such a unique album, nothing immediately stood out but I didn't feel the need to skip a single song. I should definitely give it some more listens in the future.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
4

I had never heard of John and didn’t know what to expect. Clearly dated but a cool mix of guitar, funk, psychedelic. Enjoyed it.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
4

Very interesting work. Rare to see someone’s 7th record on here. Also had heard of the song recorded across a lake before but hadn’t heard it

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

Some really lovely stuff on here, from early on in his time, an album I definitely wouldn't have heard if it wasn't for this.

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Sun Nov 27 2022
4

What a surprise. I love the mellow production and vocals, paired with all kinds of different sounds, and the ambience peace at the end. All in a perfect run time.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

Pretty intriguing overall. Varied and complex

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Fri Dec 16 2022
4

bardzo przyjemne, zwłaszcza Certain Surprise

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Wed Dec 21 2022
4

a couple of the last songs were pretty groovy

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Thu Dec 29 2022
4

"One World" is the seventh studio album by Scottish guitarist and singer Iain David McGeachy known professionally as John Martyn. The album was recorded outdoors at Island record owner Chris Blackwell's (also the producer) Berkshire Farm. Martyn had become disillusioned with the music industry but was revitalized after a prior trip to Jamaica and meeting and playing with various people including Lee "Scratch" Perry who co-wrote a song appearing on the album. Also appearing on the album are musicians Steve Winwood (various instruments), Danny Thompson (bass), Hansford Rowe (bass) and Rico Rodriguez (trombone). This music style is very unique incorporating various guitar effects including echoing, heavy bass, Moog synthesizer and influences from dub music and Lee Perry. It sounds like a mixture of pop, jazz, experimental and world music. This album is credited as originating trip-hop. "Dealer" begins things and right away there's a lot going on. Prominent bass. The Moog synth. Reverb guitars. Flutes. Martyn's scratchy voice. Kind of funky and World music sounding. I think obviously about a drug dealer. "Smiling Stranger" is another "big" sounding song. Guitar with the effects. Sax and strings are also added. Never trust a smiling stranger. "Big Muff" was co-wrote with Lee "Scratch" Perry and we have reverb heavy guitar. A great groove with the bass. The second side is love song focused. "Certain Suprise" is samba-esque and very smooth jazz. More strings and a trombone. "Dancing" was the only single and has a swinging rhythm. A plea to his wife and sounds like latter-day Peter Gabriel. The nearly nine-minute "Small Hours" concludes the album. Very ambient. You hear water. You hear geese sounds. More of his echo guitar. Very chill. This is my first venture into John Martyn. A lot going on musically and the future influence is apparent. A great sounding and orginal album. Recommended for anyone willing to venture into jazz, ambient, dub, world and other experimental musical styles.

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Sun Jan 01 2023
4

Had never heard of John before and really liked this one, will be revisiting!

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Tue Jan 10 2023
4

Another album by a British musician I had never heard of. This was definitely an interesting discovery! I would characterize this as soft, mellow, experimental prog-jazz-folk-rock? Whatever it is, it's cool, and I like it. Very cool guitar playing. I would absolutely listen to this again. Love the album art too.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

John Martyn was ever one of the most questing of the folkies, and on this album there's nary a hint of music associated with the real ale brigade. True, the spinning, swirling Echoplex guitar and slurred vocals heard on Solid Air are still in place; but if this isn't quite as accomplished as his best album, it's more expansive. Alongside some slightly New Wave touches we have a kind or soul-folk on 'Certain Surprise' and, perhaps most gorgeous of all, whalesong guitar on the meditative 'Small Hours', underpinned by a subtle heartbeat percussion. Lovely stuff. I hope Solid Air is on this app.

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Thu Jan 26 2023
4

Nice. Ahead of its time sonically speaking, with a few catchy hooks and a lot of interesting moodpieces. Besides, I can't help feeling *One World* fares slightly better than *Solid Air* today. Oddly enough, it's songs from that latter record that have the largest number of streams on Spotify--they are indeed very nice cuts, but as far as whole albums go, *Solid Air* still sounds like a patchy affair to my (limited?) ears. Conversely, *One World* offers something that's both adventurous and cohesive in terms of sound and songwriting. I did a quick search online to see if I could buy this album. It seems it is extremely hard to find today, and this in any format. Bummer. Chances are that I'll be less inclined to revisit it if I don't own a physical copy of it. Still, I'm including it in my list of essential records. This is where this app is pretty useful. It can help you single out albums that deserve to be a little more popular than they already are. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: less than 700, I've temporarily lost count here Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens:  approximately a half so far (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: a quarter Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): the last quarter

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