Echo Location: Marconi Union’s A Lost Connection

I know, I just mentioned Marconi Union in a blog last week, but I decided to feature them in an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music, an Echoes feature heard on WXPN-FM, 88.5, in Philadelphia/Lancaster/Harrisburg.

An audio version of this Echo Location with music can also be heard.

Manchester, England was the home to some of the most seminal music of the 1970s and 80s. That’s where Jamie Crossley and Richard Talbot grew up, stoked on the Manchester born sounds of groups like Happy Mondays, the Durutti Column and Joy Division.  The two musicians met in a record store where Richard worked. He was playing his own electronic music to unsuspecting customers.  Jamie Crossley walked in, heard it and suggested a collaboration. The results have been a trio of critically acclaimed albums beginning with Under Wires and Searchlights in 2003 and Distance in 2005. 

Their latest CD, A Lost Connection continues their music of interior designs that could’ve emerged out of a Blade Runner dream, which is fitting for a band growing up in the midst industrial decay. Much of their music rises out of a droning, electronic hum, like the distant sound of a powerstation, or the rumble of a subway. But out of that hum, a pulse emerges, clicks and glitches congeal and a melody at the borders of perception rises up out of the noise like Clint Eastwood emerging out of a desert heat mirage.

You can hear echoes of ambient artists like Boards of Canada and Moby in Marconi Union and they certainly bow at the altar of ambient creator, Brian Eno. Like those artists, there’s a haunting, minor key melancholy and many of sounds seem almost a-musical, born from faulty joints, broken fittings or in the case of their new album, A Lost Connection. It’s the soundtrack for abandoned factories and dead technology, but one where sunlight is filtering through the broken glass.

Marconi Union’s Distance was released on the All Saints label, which also puts out CDs by Brian Eno, John Cale and Harold Budd. They expected their next album to come out there as well, and while they were waiting, they even recorded a second cd.  That’s a much swampier and darker effort called Beautifully Falling Apart.  But All Saints has stopped producing new music so Marconi Union decided to release the first of their two albums, A Lost Connection as a digital download from their website, marconiunion.com.  You’ll also find some free downloads on their site. 

This has been an Echo Location, soundings for new music.  Hear an Audio Version with music here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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