Marconi Union is a reclusive electronic duo from Manchester, England. Their sound has been described as "a post rock cinematic orchestra." Distance, their first U.S. release, is unique, individual and timeless, fusing acoustic sounds, strings and pianos with electronica, post-rock guitars and even occasional nods towards jazz and dub. Described by the band as "a soundtrack to a film that has not yet been made," listening to Distance evokes the feeling of being driven silently around an unknown city at night, observing the activity and life of the urban sprawl in safety and isolation.
What goes around comes around ambient. That's the message from a third generation of electronica artists who were just leaving the womb when Brian Eno's early works were being diffused in the 1970s. They were barely teens when the Orb rolled forth in the '90s. But new artists like Boards of Canada, the Album Leaf, and Explosions in the Sky are taking those early ambient primers and adding geometries of glitch and dream guitar to the mix, creating a melodic brand of ethereal music with an edge. Marconi Union, a Manchester duo, follow suit on a CD that travels in cinematic melancholy and textural malaise. Their songs build slowly, emerging out of a flattened landscape of static and stillness to attain a quietly triumphal beauty. Percussion is almost subliminal in journeys that pulse more than groove. It sometimes gets ominous, with an ostinato bass growl prowling through a Blade Runner landscape on "Inter." But usually they generate a quiet awe, like the slow build of "Sleepless." Expect to hear tracks from Distance in soundtracks and commercials near you soon. --John Diliberto