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MARK BARROTT

Most music does not come out of nowhere. Arising and appearing in a pre-existing system of influences, cross-references, roots, memories and desires, it either directly points towards a heritage or into the future. Mark Barrott’s "Nature Sounds of the Balearics" is a bit of both. The mastermind behind the International Feel label and the Sketches from an Island series presents an intermediary.

Technically, it’s his departure from a software based workflow and onto (or back to) a hardware driven creative point of view. Philosophically, it deals with the schizophrenia of our times: the late Paul Virgilio’s dromology and logistics of perception versus a decelerated life outside of cities, internet algorhythmics (sic!) versus meditation, the excessive stock market (all track titles are derivates of that world) against a tactile way of living.
Musically, it is the outcome of what Barrott himself described as his "techno album". For people whose definition of techno has to do with speed (again) and kick drums that might seem like a misinterpretation. Listeners who remember the Artificial Intelligence and Freezone compilations, various chill out channels or Detroit’s mellow moments, will tend to agree. "Nature Sounds of the Balearics" miraculously evokes those days and times, without breaking his neck. It is as much at home in a Caribbean water utopia between dolphins and old fishing boats as it feels current and applicable in a Ridley Scott dystopia. And if meta levels aren't your thing: it’s just a beautiful album.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Moving away slightly from the beach-bound cocktail-fuelled halcyon lysergia of the previous outings, Barrott opts for off-kilter melodies and hardware-based sequencing to create a more rhythmically diverse offering, as fascinating as it is engrossing. Lovely stuff.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: Gatefold 180 gram vinyl.

International Feel impressario Mark Barrott returns for 2017 with this four tracker of brand new compositions inspired by life's moonlit moments and the intimacy of night. "Schopenhauer's Garden" opens the set with "Chariot's Of Fire" style sequences, snaking sax licks and naive guitar melodies all treading their soft steps over a vaguelly dubby beat. Reminiscent of Peter Gordon's collaboration with Factory Floor if you play it at 33 (a trademark Patch Balearic secret there), this track warms us up nicely for the rest of the release. The A2 swims through crystal clear new age waters, chasing a irresistibly female with almost the best name out there. The sax makes a welcome return as the synths sing of the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, much like Barrott himself in fact. Over on the B-side, "Mokush?" carries us through the neon lit night-time streets of Tokyo on swelling bass synths, spaced out sine waves and trance inducing tones. The naive melodies and opiated electronics continue on EP closer "Lysander" as Barrott composes his own version of Blade Runner's love theme.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: IFEEL leader Mark Barrott invites us into his marble mansion for a nightcap, scoring the moonlight with four tracks of free flowing synthesis and swirling saxaphone.

Certain places have a history that allows things to happen outside the norm. Ibiza is one of those. A place where anyone with an open heart can find their space. A place where maverick thinking still matters. It's this environment that in turn nurtured and created the music and style known as Balearic.

Mark Barrott’s (ex Future Loop Foundation) ‘Sketches From An Island’ compresses this Balearic heartbeat into nine warm gems which paint a picture of the island, the people and the magnetic beauty that pulses through it. Recorded in Ibiza's northern hills using “weird percussion, some slide guitars and a few borrowed synths,” it’s a melodic and mysterious representation of a place seeped in a rich and rebellious history.
Opening track ‘Baby Come Home’ radiates with carefree tropical sounds and upbeat harmonies. The blues-soaked melodies of ‘Essene’ perfectly navigates the tension between heart-bursting happiness and melancholy and ‘Go Berri Be Happy’ is like Prefab Sprout gone to Ghana. It’s colour smudged hazy emotions swirl between Brian Eno, Penguin Café Orchestra and Compass Point vibes into a free-flowing cascade of live playing and synthesized sound, perfectly epitomised on the future classic 'Formentera Headspace Blues'.

“'Sketches' is inspired by those weird, unique little oddities that would turn up on early José Padilla mix tapes that he’d sell in the Las Dalias hippy market, before he even went to the Café Del Mar,” says Barrott. “It’s influenced by living in Ibiza year-round, and by the feeling of what I think Balearic sounds like.”

It’s warm and widescreen music for the days when you need musical sunshine. Or as original Café Del Mar’s José Padilla, has it: “This is what I call Balearic.”



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