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Starting with the following year’s Under Wires And Searchlights, they’ve created an explorative body of instrumental work that’s shifted between electronica, dub, minimalism, avant-jazz and ambient music. Along the way they’ve collaborated with the likes of Jah Wobble, remixed Max Richter and Vök and provided soundtracks for art installations and other visual media. They’ve also had their own music remixed by Biosphere and Japan’s Steve Jansen, among others. The new album offers ample evidence of a band in its prime. Marconi Union still sound vital and original, enthused by the possibilities that music has to offer. “We’ve never wanted to repeat ourselves,” states Talbot. “We’ve made ten albums and have been going for 17 years, but it still feels fresh. That’s been so important for us all the way through. We’re looking to do new things all the time” co-founder Richard Talbot says.

Indeed, the exquisite Dead Air bears only a passing resemblance to its 2016 forerunner, Ghost Stations. The trio have dispensed with beats, brass and guest musicians this time around, opting instead for a more intimate and textural approach, a constantly evolving soundworld of tones and sensory impressions. Dead Air also bears little resemblance to the trio’s initial vision for it. “The album we set out to make had far more of a rhythmic element,” explains Talbot, “ but fairly late in the process, we decided to completely change direction.” This is entirely in keeping with Marconi Union’s guiding methodology. Ideas remain fluid throughout the writing process, until Talbot and bandmates Jamie Crossley and Duncan Meadows ultimately settle on what feels right to them.  As such, Dead Air is a sublime testament to their collective instinct.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Marconi Union have been a constant source of pleasure for me here, with their wonderful capability to imbue any sound with all sorts of majestic overtones and euphoric, airy ambience while still retaining a momentum and sense of progression. Lovely stuff.

Originally released by Just Music in 2001, Jon Hopkins' debut album was an extraordinary debut from a then twenty one year old Hopkins, now a critically acclaimed recording artist, Ivor Novello nominated composer of film scores and prominent producer / collaborator with artists such as Coldplay, Brian Eno and Natasha Khan who has twice been nominated for the Mercury Prize, both for his album with King Creosote on 'Diamond Mine'. There are numerous moments here that could have been the chilled-out afterparty for his 'Going Out' themed stormer, Immunity. Opener 'Elegiac' is an electro-acoustic tour-de-force, beautifully punchy drums and looped guitar picking with sliding bass and reverse-reverbed drum flurries. There is much more of a sense of relaxation about this album, swells of pads and soaring digital strings are elegantly interspersed with airy kick drums and echoing acoustic picking. Rhythmic moments are consistent but understated, the emphasis coming more from the combination of influence from a variety of styles, expertly thrust together into a dizzyingly fragile and breathtaking whole. 'Apparition', the opening track on the second LP is further testament to Hopkins' skills as a sound designer as well as a producer, consisting of gated drum hits and beeping synthesisers before a stunningly delicate guitar enters the mix, oozing more than a little sunny balearicism. 'Cerulean' is a definite highlight, hazy percussive loops and glistening steel strings, driven along by a silky smooth walking bassline. This certainly isn't an album to listen to in a packed club, but it most certainly has it's place blaring out of your speakers on a beach or on a sunny day in the park. Relax. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Beautifully intimate; in parts serene, others melancholic, but always heartfelt and fully immersive.

'How I Live Now' is the big-screen adaptation of the award-winning young-adult novel by Meg Rosoff, directed by acclaimed Academy-Award winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, Marley, The Last King of Scotland) and starring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones, Hanna) as Daisy.

London based Jon Hopkins, a classically trained pianist who has collaborated with Coldplay and Brian Eno amongst others, received a Ivor Novello nomination for his score for the Sci-Fi classic, 'Monsters' and he also co-wrote with Brian the music for 'The Lovely Bones'. He also scored the Andrew Douglas / Bryan Singer feature film 'You Want Me to Kill Him'.

'How I Live Now' features the single 'Garden's Heart' by Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) & Jon Hopkins, a Jon Hopkins Remix of Daughter's 'Home' and Amanda Palmer 's 'Do It With A Rockstar'

STAFF COMMENTS

Philippa says: Includes his track with Bat For Lashes Natasha Khan, 'Garden's Heart', a remix of Daughter, Amanda Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra's 'Do It With A Rockstar' and lots of electronic film pieces.


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