MARAKAS: MAGNETIC ISLAND (2020 Melodic Synth Album)
- .The Freedom To Choose [5:18]
- .Riding The Midnight Train [5:57]
- .Now Pat Can Rest [7:17]
- .Gas Giants [4:12]
- .Magnetic Island [4:04]
- .An End To All Games [5:16]
- .Masquerade [5:01]
- .5052 Days [4:47]
Quality melodic debut album from a new rising star on the UK Electronic Music scene with eight well composed, tightly constructed and nicely produced instrumentals!
MARAKAS is UK musician Mark Brougham and when I first heard his ‘Magnetic Island’ music I was transported back to the early 90’s when I first encountered the raw talent that was then a young Andy Pickford with his new and refreshingly exciting melodic synthesizer music!
Yes, if you are one for a good tune in your EM, this brand new name on the block is a good one to go for, with 8 original compositions filled with melody, atmosphere and fire, with a closing track that’s a gorgeous slice of emotion fuelled symphonic grandeur!
The disc is a Factory Produced High Quality CD-R with Full-Colour On-Body CD Label Print and it is packaged in a 4-Panel Digi-Pak.
‘The Freedom To Choose’ opens the album in vibrant style, with a BIG melody dominating over simple yet effective electro percussion. Brougham works the melody well, changing, varying, re-arranging and adding different sounds and layers as it goes – a perfect opener that offers early insight into this guys talents!
‘Riding The Midnight Train’ opens ‘Magnetic Island’ atmospherically to the sounds of the railways before a haunting theme strikes up over a stripped back rhythm and quickly gets into a nice flow. As subtle layers are constantly added you really get the feel of being on a train ride.
‘Now Pat Can Rest’ is more directly melodic, again with stripped back electro percussion, but a soothing wall of string synth textures that carries the main theme along. Added crystalline textures linger for a while until a sombre Dyson-esque melody line prevails and takes the track into deeper symphonic synthesizer territory. When the main melody comes back in it’s even more emotionally intense than before, with ethereal, ghostly choral sounds lingering in the background, then as the music drops down a gear or two there are further textural embellishments added as it quietly fades down into the distance.
‘Gas Giants’ sweeps in on a bed of powerfully sombre textures and as it develops more detailed melodic fragments start to cascade all around atmospherically.
‘Magnetic Island’ is the title track and straight away it is upbeat and vibrant with 80’s like electro sounds and melodies leading the way through moving panoramic audio imagery that is almost animal-like in construction and moving around the soundstage.
‘An End To All Games’ is altogether more laid-back in its approach, with a fine rhythmic structure leading the way for a fantastic Pickford / Vangelis style synth lead melody line to enter. That theme changes as it goes, weaving and winding a constantly changing path, and building in strength as it goes.
‘Masquerade’ is the penultimate track, and again it’s upbeat with a driving melody line and evenly structured percussive rhythm. The melody is constantly evolving and being re-layered, with some fine synth pyros going on in between the different passages – a great driving track! Halfway through brings in a fantastic new grandiose orchestral sound that different to anything that has gone before it, bringing a new edge to an already exciting palette sounds the album in producing.
‘5052 Days’ closes the album with a breathtakingly beautiful piece of symphonic synth wizardry that is kind of an EM equivalent to Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’! This track is jam-packed full of underlying emotion and reminds me in many respects very much of how Andy Pickford closed his trail-blazing ‘Replicant’ debut album way back in the early 90’s … Stunning music that sends a shiver up my spine!
Well, I think there’s a new raw talent at work here. This guy’s music is extremely melodic, strong and emotionally stirring at times, but it never gets boring at any point as he is constantly evolving, developing and building on every tune he tackles. This is not the music of an extrovert, it is well composed, tightly structured and nicely produced, and based on what we are hearing hear on this exciting debut, I look forward to what will surely come in the future, because ‘Magnetic Island’ is a very good starting point!