Through literature and landscape painting Martens developed a language that is as close to the personal-spiritual documentary as to contemporary classical music. Quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley in its opening piece ‘Aria, The Cloud’ the tone is set for an intimate but extroverted modernist take on neo-romanticism. The album is conceived as a play for magnetic tape recorder, using field recordings and midi devices as its round characters. Rich musical intertextuality, ranging from Baudelaire to Toru Takemitsu and Messiaen, cleverly chaperones the theatre of sound, emphasizing every shift and every detail while still allowing time and space for reflection between the acts.
More than ever Martens’s work is the result of a deep process of enlightening. It shows the becoming of a mediating poet who summons the spirits of Nature, of the Sensual, of the Unspoken. A quatrain of Emerson is whispered in a ghost appearance: All day the waves assailed the rock, / I heard no church bell chime; / The sea-beat scorns the minster clock / And breaks the glass of Time. All along the deliberately chosen archaisms are beautifully transcended, making these compositions a constant game of question and answer between past and present, between man and Art.
This album lays bare modern man’s need of myth, of classic beauty. If it were up to us, Music From The Guardhouse should be regarded a corner stone, a blue print for the future of composition to come, a lecture in honesty and depth.