Debut Release from The Ancient Sea

July 2, 2021

‘Vesta’ is the debut track from The Ancient Sea, a newly launched project by Irish multi-instrumentalist James Gabriel Martin.

The song merges acoustic instruments from every continent with atmospheric textures and soundscapes, synthesizers and samples to take the listener on an engaging journey. At the core of the track is a steady driving Irish banjo that acts as a unique lynchpin in the narrative. Inspired in equal parts by science fiction media, the myths of Ancient Greece and old spaghetti westerns, the track features NASA library recordings, vintage analogue noisescapes and an exploding horn section reminiscent of Ennio Morricone.

Well-known for his work as a singer-songwriter with his band Cry Monster Cry, James has spent the past ten years working in the music industry and touring extensively to international audiences.

I made no conscious decision to launch a new project. It happened by chance and at a time when I was feeling burnt out. Pre-Covid, we had spent two years producing a Cry Monster Cry album. A lot of time, energy and funding was put into it, and it looked set to be our most successful output to date. A full international tour was organised, and just like that the rug was pulled out from under us.”

During the first lockdown in Ireland I felt that I had lost all confidence in myself and could not muster the energy to write or play music. My instruments sat for months. The thought of trying to say something at that time felt like a leviathan task.

Then, one day I decided to build a new pedal board, adding reverb and delay pedals to my existing setup. I recorded some short clips of myself playing my banjo through it and posted them online. They ended up getting over 1 million views, with many people getting in touch to request a full track.”

James set to work producing Vesta in his home studio, playing all the instruments himself, as well as doing the arranging and mixing. It proved to be a freeing experience.

There was no pressure, I just enjoyed the process of creating. There was little expectation, and because it was so different to what I usually do, I allowed myself to just go in any new direction that felt right.

‘Vesta’ is out now on all platforms.

Follow The Ancient Sea on Instagram.

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