Maartin Allcock - OX15 [Talking Elephant Records - 2021]
Originally released in 1999 OX15 was the second solo album from British multi-instrumentalist/ record producer Maartin Allcock. And the twelve-track album is a largely mellow, laid back and seemingly largely effortless example of musical genre blending- where Mr Allcock blends 'n' blurs folk, classic rock, country, Adult pop, celtic music, prog rock, world music, and easy listening/ soothing mood music
This CD reissue appears on Talking Elephant Records- and is presented in a four-panel digipak, which recreates the original albums cracked red yellow earth cover. With an eight-page fold-out inlay inside, finding Allcock detailing how each track came about/its influences.
Maartin Allcock started playing professionally in the year 1976. And he had a long and varied career- sadly he passed in 2018, at the too-young age of 61. In his time he worked with the likes of Fairpoint Convention( their guitarist in the ’80s/’90s), Jethro Tull, Ashley Hutchings, Ralph McTell, Les Barker, Robert Plant and many others. In total, he put out four solo albums- 1990’s MART, 1999’s OX15, 2004 Severing Suggestions, and 2012 Chilli Morning. From the album I have to hand I’d say he comes across as a more versatile and more song-based take on someone like Mike Oldfield- but with more folk/ jigging leanings present….with maybe a touch of Richard Dawson’s playfulness and quirky-ness here and there.
Over this twelve track album it’s clear Allcock was a highly accomplished player, he knew how to write both memorable and atmospheric music, and he could blend and blur genres in a highly-skilled, clever, and largely very worthy manner. And like the best albums, he very much takes us on a sonic journey. We kick off with “Daichovo Chara”- which is based on a Bulgarian folk tune- the track brings brightly jigging fiddle, mandolin darts, and suddenly raising moments of soaring classic pop-rock instrumentation. As we move on we come to “Crash Polka” which blends quirky sound effects, bouncing 80’s bass synth line, and tight jaunting Bouzar/ guitar groove, with an elegant cello breakdown. There’s the plaintive and rising piano synth keys, sampled bell tones, 80’s AOR bass, and tight drums of “Untitled” which as it goes on adds in some nicely joyful fiddle playing.
Moving into the second half we have “Bean A'Tí Ar Lár” which is a building and layered Irish reel, with fine fiddle and Bodhran playing, and tight guitar and bass line from Allcock- as we move into more solid folk-rock territory. There’s light folk-rock pop meets Arabic exotic vocalising meets Celtic whistling of “A Dream”. With the album topped of lulling acoustic guitar, bass, and tip-tapping & sparking percussion of “Elementary”.
Though I’m of course very much aware Fairpoint Convention- I wasn't aware of Mr Allcock until hearing this record. And I must say I was very much taken by OX15, as it’s a wonderful self-assured and entertaining record that wonderful blurs and blends genres together in a mellow, clever, and memorable manner. To buy this release direct head by here, and let us hope we get to see reissues of Allcock other three albums.