Upon first listening to Worried About The Fire, you might — like the music itself — be wordless. “Disquieting,” “disconcerting,” and “disturbing” are just some suggestions with which to describe the album. The darkness of these adjectives, however, is much to the credit of Worried About The Fire, Aaron Martin’s fourth full-length solo album. Although originally intended as a soundtrack to a short film, Martin’s instrumental intricacy once again foregrounds itself, commanding attention. Each track is short but musically rich, comprising a collection of eerie soundscapes in which the one-man ensemble of cello, organs, harmonica, and banjo returns.

 

What has changed, however, is the recording process. By eschewing the live approach he has taken on previous albums, Martin allows himself more expansive experimentation with effects and editing, yielding interesting results; there are what sound like helicopter propellers on opening track “Albee.” What distinguishes Martin is the ability to make instruments — notably the cello — capable of physical impact, achieved on this album by choosing titles which reflect the sounds created with his instruments. Take “Open Knife”; in it, the cello sounds sharp, cutting its way into the listener.

There is also the sheer creepiness of deft plucks of strings in “New Brighton,” which has malevolent cello creaking like an old door, behind which lurks something horrifying. Similarly chilling is the loop of someone’s breath on “Wires Of Glass,” and the whimpering cello of “Making Rope Out Of Eye Lashes.” The beautiful “Water Tongue” and “Reed Tunnel” allow respite from the tension amid often dark, strangely discomposing compositions, but most of the album may have you looking over your shoulder, sure that you are being watched whilst you listen.

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