Martin Messent
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Martin Messent


Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Grass-Roots Local Music Gathers Momentum"

With such a miasma of local ‘promoters’, some excellent and committed to local music, others trying to make a buck and duck out after, a lot of bands feel ripped off and exploited by the middle man; unpaid and unlikely to get on.

It’s the same old stuff. “We’ll only give you a gig if you fill it” or “we’ll pay you if there’s anything left after our expenses” are familiar stipulations to most bands starting out. Another classic: “No we don’t do guest lists!”

Sound Tank Collective, a growing number of artists hosting their own monthly night at The Hope and Cella at The Sanctuary in Brighton, are offering an alternative to this state of affairs.

Sound Tank has built quite a repertoire and excellent gallery of hosted and member artists, including Lou Rhodes (Lamb), The Hat and The Big Hairy Band. Everyone gets paid fairly, bypassing rubbish promoters. They are also all excellent musicians.

Cate Ferris opened the latest offering. As I watched her grounded bare feet pressing into the floor and listened, elemental images sprang to mind. Melting snowflakes on soft warm skin. A crackle of burning wood in a winter fire. With accompanying bass and melodica from Adam, Cate’s music is enveloping.

Martin Messent’s five piece jazz ensemble Mab headlined. Resonant with the largess of Theolonius Monk or Count Basie’s Orchestra, Mab echo a certain solitude too – the solitary and painful delicacy of Nick Drake.

After the gig I ask Martin about his lyrics about social injustice. “The wholesale rape of the planet in the name of progress,” he told me, “is like a blind, runaway juggernaut crashing into the source of life itself. I don’t appreciate that.” Indeed.

Such a disarming outlook is countered beautifully with the simpatico and resonant harmonies of the band. Mab are exquisite. Sound Tank are breaking new ground in the local music scene.

Cathryn Setz - BBC Southern Counties

"Blues For Plankton CD review"

Blues For Plankton is definitely an album for late night listening, but more importantly it's an album that would enhance any nocturnal solitude. Messent appears to take reference points from across the last five decades, borrowing from the late 1960's melancholia of Nick Drake, through to David Gray's turn of the century angst, whilst even stopping off for a spot of Nick Cave-like darkness along the way. In this respect Blues For Plankton is timeless in its feel, taking the best from the styles of those who have skirted along the peripheries of the blues/folk genres over recent decades.
For the most part, Messent sings with a sturdy purr that threatens to break in to a growl that he never quite reaches, resulting in a warm vocal that sounds more vulnerable than it does threatening. A languorous slide guitar whines through the opening track: "nowhere slow, is where I go" sings Messent, with an equally dreamy surrender... you end up being quite tempted to follow him. "Ever On" is similarly reflective, but finds Messent ditching his solitude for a divine, soaring duet vocal with Naja Skøtt Olesen.
"Just A Closer Walk With Thee" is drenched in a haunting string arrangement that lends a deliciously dark edge, alongside Messent's sombre vocal. The album's most angry moment, "Tree From A Chimney Top," is punctuated by a manic, guitar arrangement, with Messent sounding quite agitated. Several gratuitous expletives momentarily detract from Messent's otherwise fluid and incisive lyrics.
Blues For Plankton is an enjoyable listen -- an intimately relaxing, laid back and honest affair. The acoustic instrumentation beautifully complements Messent's enigmatic and soulful voice, resulting in a perfectly balanced, unpretentious sound that provides a rare tranquility.

Mike Wilson 23/02/09 -

"Martin Messent - Blues For Plankton"

The gaping chasm of 'The Blues' is a hard place not to get lost in. What's required is a complex compass made-up of integrity, passion and that central necessity of, well, experience. Brighton, England, is generally not deemed a great harvesting ground for a great bluesman. With its relatively well-heeled populace and position as one of the UK's dance heartlands it isn't seen to generally lend itself too well to nurturing the blues. But that was back then. For things may well be about to change.

Martin Messent, you see, has made a simple, stripped back nu-blues album and it's an utter revelation. By taking that celebrated blues formula of experimentation and melancholy and adding a strong English and contemporary slant he's crafted an album that's instantly gratifying for a modern day British audience.

By blending the sound of Americana, folk and jazz around a central spine of blues-laden acoustica, 'Blues for Plankton' feels strangely fresh and new. Opener 'Nowhere Slow' sets the scene with its downbeat six-string melancholy and Messent's warm, comforting lone vocals leading from the front. It's deliciously unrushed; Messent evidently taking great joy from wandering slowly through the jazz-club playground. Beyond such a splendid opener and there's honeyed wafts of slide guitar, double bass and string parts so finely textured that you can almost feel them with your fingers.

Amidst this musical master-class sits Messent's startling lyricism. Simple, downbeat stories bleed with emotion as Messent talks with a Van Morrison-esque level of introspection and reflection. It's equally serene and poignant and lends this glorious LP a further level of quality. Just listen to the duelling vocal parts of 'Ever On' and you'll spend half the song chasing to catch your breath.

On the startling evidence of 'Blues For Plankton', Brighton Blues have never sounded so raw.

'Blues For Plankton' is out now on Bread Pudding Records

Stephen Jasper - Fresh Deer Meat

"Dark yet full of creativity and imagination, this is music for lovers of art"

Martin Messent
Crow Jane Records


All the songs on ANGELS AND JACKALS sound the same—slow, miserable and melancholy. However, if you are a fan of this type of music, then you will be in for a treat, especially the dark Loser’s Drawl. With pejorative lyrics, sung chillingly, this is a great song with a set of varied string instruments from violin to viola. All ten tracks have been written and arranged by singer-songwriter Martin, and after listening to all ten songs you will agree with the fact this unknown artist is full of creativity and wonder. Though his songs may be sombre, with his acoustic guitar entwined with the sound from Mike Simmond’s viola, something beautiful and shining can be heard, such as on The Tide. Naja Skott Olesen offers some sweet harmony vocals on Waiting For Your Train to Come In, mixing well with Martin’s raw and emotional vocals. Sung along to some wonderful melodies from the acoustic guitar, this is a heart aching song. Fate Was Drunk is a song like none other, with Martin knowing how to make his song real and personal. Too Cool has strong flavours of blues rock, with a hypnotic funk infused sound controlling the soul of the song. It is always a treat to listen to an artist experiment with sounds on an album, offering the listener a range of varied of tracks, which is exactly what Martin offers to his fans. If you are not a fan of dark and melancholy music maybe this isn’t best suited for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy creative and imaginative lyrics mixed with sounds you have never heard before, get yourself a copy of ANGELS AND JACKALS. CB - Maverick Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...