apparently marconi union are a duo based in manchester. i say apparently, as there are no details anywhere as to who makes up the union either on the exquisite cd packaging, nor the press release. so instead it's all down to the music. having been released on the all saints label should give some indication as to where we are with this. 7 tracks of instrumentally gorgeous, sublime, musically rich ambience where the emphasis is on melody and listener pleasure as opposed to sonci experimentation. opener 'sleepless' has a wonderful depth, with the combination of deep rumbling noises, post rock styled quiet guitars and scratchy crackles making it sound as if the cabling from the drum machine hasn't been quite pushed all the way into the socket. the style of this 5.40 minutes, basically sets up the listener for the whole album where little really jumps out and grabs the listener as opposed to soothes and calms. the interaction of the full ambience and real world guitars throughout the album, is dealt with to stunning effect throughout the album, sometimes in the form of the main melody provider, whereas in other places the guitars just are dropped into the mix as a deep twang noise, the results are always very special providing several genuine chill up the spine moments.
don't however get the impression that the album doesn't get a groove going, on some tracks underneath the initial calm lies a pulsating heartbeat, both 'through glass' and the kraftwerk styled 'buildings and people' have an undercurrent throb that would make old school ambient techno heroes like orbital and the orb grimace in the acknowledgment that their crown has definitely been overthrown, delicate bass lines and neon lit drum tracks makes you drift off into other sci-fi sound tracked worlds. in fact, 'suburb27' definitely feels like a long lost cousin to brian eno's genre defining soundscapes, where all the usual phrases of 'ethereal', 'cinematic', 'lush' could quite easily become overused to the point of parody. so instead i'll just say this : wow.
what with this album and the recent resurfacing of the future sound of london and boards of canada, are we seeing a revival of all things laidback? the change could in fact be rather nice, especially if the world gets to hear more excellence like this.