THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH FOR JULY
Marconi Union’s Different Colours
Hear Marconi Union interviewed tonight 8/29/2012 on Echoes.
Six years years ago, Marconi Union entranced us with their second album, Distance. It was music that emerged from a smoke shrouded city, both luxurious in its atmospheres and dangerous in its menace. Heroic melodies were tinged by forlorn fragility, built on electronic pulses that moved you through the works on a conveyor belt of sound. The band got a little more abstract on subsequent albums such as Tokyo, but now they’ve returned to form with Different Colours and in fact, have become more melodic and inviting.
Marconi Union’s “First Light”
Without actually altering the core Marconi Union sound, the addition of Duncan Meadows to the duo of Richard Talbot and Jamie Crossley has had a significant impact . While Talbot and Crossley are musicians in the post-modern electronic folk sense, that is, self-taught, Meadows is classically-trained, with a penchant for jazz. He has chops.
Charming video for “Flying (In Crimson Skies)
Meadows adds a deeper harmonic sensibility to Marconi Union, and a more interesting rhythmic pulse, as heard on tracks like the heroic “Flying (in Crimson Skies.)” It’s driven by a ride cymbal pulse in polyrhythmic counterpoint to marimba, all of which are played, not programmed. On top of that, Crossley launches a long guitar solo with Robert Fripp-like sustain that arcs through the sky like a searchlights in slow motion. His guitar lines are simple, but in the remorseless landscape of “Broken Colours,” they emerge like the sun, scattering through clouds.
“Time Lapse” is another ride-cymbal-driven piece, acting like the sequencer pulse on an old Tangerine Dream album. And like the Dream’s classic grooves, the steady vamp drives you through a landscape of musical moments that drift by like scenes through a train window. Richard Talbot and Jamie Crossley create beautifully layered ambient dreamscapes. Real world sounds, subtle shifts and hidden references, mix in with their intricate digital textures. It can be abstract and hazy until Meadows comes in with a Harold Budd-like piano line that it brings it all into focus.
No track exemplifies the newer, more organically-oriented sound of Marconi Union than “Always Numb.” It’s a floating atmosphere, but you can hear that there are musicians actually playing, and not merely programming, together.
Different Colours is Marconi Union’s most mature and distinctive album yet, a faultless CD of electronica film noir moodiness from beginning to end.
You can order mp3s of Marconi Union’sDifferent Colourson iTunes.
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))