Sacred Sphinx

Tender Mercy

Mark Kramer, the man behind the curtains in Tender Mercy, never fails to capture a level of intimacy in his music that would feel intimidating to a less secure musician. His newest, “Sacred Sphinx,” feels somehow even more naked than before, the ghostly guitar serving as the sole accompaniment again, but even more stripped down than before. Kramer’s currency is his restraint, his ability to allow a melody to remain so achingly bare-bone that it seems to fade out of existence at times, like a sleepy afternoon spent nodding off to something you love. Per usual, the real tension lies in the space between the notes, between his delicate voice and gently plucked string work on the guitar, made that much more lush with a liberal use of reverb, though not to the point of obscuring the character of either instrument here.