It’s likely that you’ve never heard of Vincent Carr, but the multi-instrumentalist began releasing very interesting, largely instrumental work under the SUMIC name in 2014. Although easily labelled as “prog” due to its indulgent approach and complexity, the one-man project takes in a broad range of sounds and influences. On the very pastoral “Rekindled” (2016), the musical pieces drew heavily from folk and even hinted at influence from Freddie Phillips. On 2019’s more complex ‘New Paeans’, Carr wasn’t shy in sharing a love for Mike Oldfield, Steve Hillage and Gong, and the more recent ‘Strolling Early Morning’ did a fine job of blending all of those influences on a record that managed to be a little more accessible, yet no more commercial.
One of the UK prog scene’s true underground talents, Vincent Carr’s complex acoustic work and love for pastoral soundscapes has helped create some interesting recordings over the years. On 2016’s ‘Rekindled’ he injected a very strong British folk rock vibe into some largely instrumental pieces, and on the follow up, ‘New Paeans’, he truly unleashed his inner Mike Oldfield on lengthy arrangements that blended prog, new age sounds and a hefty dose of acoustic complexity. Obviously he was working on a thousandth of Oldfield’s basic 70s budget, but the outcome certainly wasn’t in any way inferior. After that, Vince released a couple of ambient, improvised works that showed off yet another side to his talent. Those were approached with interest by a few of his biggest online champions, but were never designed for mass acceptance.
Back in November 2019, Vincent Carr’s SUMIC released ‘New Paeans’, a complex album blending folk, prog, a touch of world music and a love of Mike Oldfield’s grandness. It was one of the year’s best DIY releases. It was certainly one that 90% of the internet’s prog community would have missed, being busy as they were, whining about the current line up of Yes.
Multi-instrumentalist Vincent Carr released one of the best DIY albums with ‘New Paeans’. Credited to Vincent Carr’s SUMIC, its lengthy multi-layered instrumentals gathered favourable comparisons to Mike Oldfield, while underscoring complex prog rock sounds with a love of pastoral British folk.
For this edition of the Real Gone Sessions, Vincent performs a previously unreleased piece entitled ‘Bamburgh Sands’, inspired by the village of Bamburgh in Northumberland. A simple tune, it carries the traces of Freddie Phillips musical scores that subconsciously influenced work on his earlier record ‘Rekindled’.
Vincent Carr’s fifth album ‘Rekindled’ (released under the name Vincent Carr’s SUMIC in 2016) was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Taking influences from Nick Drake, John Martyn, various 70s prog bits and a smidgeon of trad English folk, the album took the listener on a very pastoral musical journey. Traces of Freddie Phillips’ children’s TV scores also added to the album’s very English qualities. It was an album only heard by a relative few, but those who did, invariably loved it.