Under The Sun
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Under The Sun
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Nobody but Mark Pritchard could have made an album like Under the Sun - because nobody has had the musical life that he has. This is an album forged from almost a quarter century of immersion and exploration in the most vital underground scenes the world has to offer, friendship and musical alliance with generations of the most important musicians alive, and hard graft in the studio under innumerable aliases. It's the sound of an artist confident of his ability to work in any genre or none, who is abreast of the most cutting edge sounds that culture and technology have to offer, but is deep rooted in the history of modern music and its production too. It ties together emotional memories of the countryside of the south west of England, particularly his native Somerset, felt strongly on the other side of the world, echoes of mythical and real pasts reverberating through the chord patterns of jazz, folk and electronic music, sensory deprivation and deep emotional introspection, all in a single ebbing and flowing musical stream.
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If you haven't yet familiarized yourself with MP's vast expanse of back catalogue, then now is yet another moment in time to come on-in!
There's an old saying, that 'it's the quiet ones, you have to look out for', and not to beat around the bush, but after experiencing Under The Sun, both sonically (and as importantly), by the equally visually - mesmerizing A/V footage by Jonathan Zawada, I feel it's only fair to state that what both have created here, is not just an experience that's worthy of a stellar review, but rather, they've truly found a way to step out into the musical unknown, and I can't relay, properly how happy that makes me feel.
I have to say, though, that I'm envious of UTS, as I lack the musical know-how to present audio to our world in this way, but I do know a rare moment when I hear one, and that's exactly what we have here.
It's not often that a collection of little short stories are offered in a way that truly manage to not only present their individualized intent, but also become greater than the sum of their parts, as combined, they begin to relay a much more important mission.
I love how the album starts with ?'s mysterious, almost 'Also Sprach Zarathrustra', and as in 2001, a journey commences.. and for me, it's a deeply personal one.
MP has been living in Australia for the past decade or more, and UTS reflects a soul's homage to his environment; stark, solitary and beautiful, but equally as alert, playful and cautious.
It's the kind of music that enables you to visualize what you hear; Mr. Zawada, on the other hand allows you to hear what he interoperates - visually.
UTS collaborates with three other like-minded voyagers who share the terrain, and offer their own message as we travel, together.
It's not really relevant here to take this opportunity to 'drop names', but rest assured MP has instinctively chosen perfectly, and you'll understand 'why' this all means as you listen.
I also feel it redundant to go into each track on its own merit, as I'm sure you're hopefully surmising here that UTS is a special journey.
To wrap-up, I mentioned MP's vast back catalogue, and I reiterate here as there's a release by Mark under the guise of Plusha, titled 'Isolation' (with the beautiful voice of Kirsty Hawkshaw), which was released somewhere in the mid-nineties, and the track is probably my most cherished piece of music, but UTS is it's perfect companion.
I never imagined MP would ever release music of equal power to that of Isolation, but he has.
If you love music, and are not afraid to step into our world a little closer, then just close your eyes and let yourself go for a while, I promise you, you'll be glad you did.
For those that are truly looking for good ambient electronic music, this is a prime example. Under The Sun is a perfectly paced journey that explores mysterious, nostalgic landscapes. In my opinion, I believe the album subconsciously carries the signatures traditions of Warp Records' masterpieces in the early 90s but still retains a new feel.
Beware: The title song of the album "Under The Sun" is very catchy. It will stay in your head for days.
Thank you Mark Pritchard and Warp Records.