Psychedelic and chill.
Canadian musician Marc-E creates something called psybient music. It’s a little bit ambient, a little bit synth happy, a slice of world instrumentation and a whole lot of psychedelic. Fans of world electronica will feel right at home here and I certainly did too. ‘Catharsis’ is an album that doesn’t sit still, allowing Marc-E to take us on a sonic journey around our minds.
Where the album absolutely excels is in its mixture of wooden, homely percussion, guitars and gentle synths. There’s more in line with something from Merbaka Records here than first meets the eye. It’s a gentle soul of an album though. Tracks like the bird song and acoustic guitars of ‘Surrendering to Now’ are beautifully paced and put together in a way that seems sincere and warm, not patronisingly devotional. There is a very icy slope artists can slip down around this and Marc-E keeps the right side of it.
Talking of guitars, its clear Marc-E has a hidden stadium metal side to him. ‘Full Armor’ closes out the album with an almighty electric guitar solo led piece to trip-hop beats. Elsewhere, ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Shadow Work’ could easily fit onto something that Tash Sultana would put out. Bombastic, open, free and ringing electric guitars lead the way whilst various world percussion and electronic beats back Marc-E up. On the flip side, ‘Seeds of Faith’ is far more Eastern focused and ‘Dreamtime’ is all about the aboriginal sound effects. Swamp sounds, digeridoos and animal calls give you a really immersive experience.
It’s that rounded holistic journey that marks ‘Catharsis’ out as a really well put together experience. I felt like I moved around different areas of the globe inside my headphones. Whilst a lot is made of the psychedelic side of the music, I found it far more percussive and rhythmic than trippy. Marc-E is extremely talented at finding a rhythmic sway to music and then arranging other instruments around it to emphasise the flow of the music. There’s more here than you’d expect on first listen. Lights off, headphones on. Take the journey.
Recommended track: Shadow Work
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