“… drawing a fine line between the sublime and the ordinary, the initial presentation criteria have been the aesthetic quality of the imagery, the nature of its production, the relationship to the music on the record and obviously my personal attachment …”
Drum & Bass Record Sleeves
Something completely different for the last post of 2016; instead of the music per se, the next installment of the blog’s ‘Count To Ten’ series is dedicated to artwork design, an essential aspect of the physical product. The size and tactile experience of the record sleeve is one of the reasons why vinyl records remain the most enjoyable way to listen to music. The recent vinyl resurgence has rekindled the art of the record layout. Whether it’s hand-made or mass-produced, meticulously arranged or spontaneously created, the cover artwork adds a literal dimension to the music that a digital thumbnail simply cannot replicate.
“Musically it’s the same button we’ve been pressing since day one, trying to find that particular and delicate place between sadness and hope. We rarely find it, exactly, but we come close sometimes. It’s like what they say about jazz players, always trying to find the ‘lost chord’ …” – Interview for UKF, November 2016.
Blu Mar Ten album covers
A common trait among music fans is their ability to recollect little details regarding their musical icons. A series of coincidences and seemingly unrelated events acquire a whole different gravity in hindsight. Although I firmly believe in the maxim “Don’t meet your heroes”, happily enough, meeting Blu Mar Ten has been a distinct exception to the rule and I feel quite honoured to have known them in person and consider them friends.
I accidentally discovered Blu Mar Ten in 1996 and I have closely followed their musical career path ever since. Their sophisticated approach, art and literature connotations, eclectic taste and cinematic aesthetics have never ceased to amaze me. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their discography debut, Blu Mar Ten recently released their 7th studio album entitled ‘Empire State’. What follows is a retrospective, but not exhaustive account of their career from my biased perspective, emphasizing on releases, which I have associated with fond memories and have had a profound impact on me; an array of reminiscences printed on vinyl grooves. Browsing through my record collection, I also present my personal highlights from each LP, instead of a track-by-track review, trying also to deduce and identify their creative influences. This is essentially my own perception and an attempt to capture the essence of the album narratives, which is completely arbitrary and probably nowhere near Blu Mar Ten’s actual vision and purpose. Nonetheless, I believe that the value of an artistic product is to create different emotions, thoughts and interpretations.
“A passion for music that gradually escalated over time into a controlled obsession”
It has been three years since this blog went online, although its conception goes further back, so I eventually decided it’s about time I shared some thoughts about how it all started, as well as provide a retrospective account of the events that influenced the blog’s thematic basis. At the end of the feature, there is a quick walk-through the blog’s various categories/series and a brief background story behind each one of them.
Blu Mar Ten Music
“We release music we like made by people we like.”- Blu Mar Ten on the ethos of their label
After experimentation with various electronic music genres, two non-d&b studio albums and a string of drum and bass releases on a wide array of prestigious labels, Blu Mar Ten marked their glorious comeback to familiar musical paths with the establishment of their own imprint Blu Mar Ten Music (BMTM) in 2009. The label was initially set to accomodate for their own material and Blu Mar Ten released two studio albums in the next two years, entitled Natural History and Love Is The Devil respectively. They also commissioned a multi-part remix series to augment both projects, with contributions from established artists across the scene, achieving critical acclaim and remarkable chart success. Continue reading
Few musical acts can lay claim to such dynamic and consistent evolution as Blu Mar Ten.
Blu Mar Ten
Formed in the big-bang of 90′s drum & bass and regular faces at Rage, Metalheadz Sessions, Speed & AWOL, Blu Mar Ten were rapidly spotted by LTJ Bukem and signed to Good Looking Records, cementing their position in the genre as originators of complex, atmospheric music.
Looking Good Records
Looking Good Records (referred to as LGR onwards) was launched in 1995 as a sub-label of Good Looking Records. LGR has released to the time of writing 52 singles, 5 retrospective compilations under the title “Looking Back” containing tracks previously released as singles, as well as an unmixed 9-track compilation entitled “Visions” – available only in cd format – with contributions from various artists of the Good Looking Organisation roster. Focusing mainly on the atmospheric, mellower side of the drum and bass spectrum, the label has presented countless classics by some of the greatest artists in the scene including the likes of LTJ Bukem himself, Photek under his Aquarius moniker, Seba, PFM, Blu Mar Ten, ASC, Jason Greenhalgh of Total Science under the Hieroglyphix and Q Project aliases, a collaboration of Blame and Nookie under the New Balance moniker, The Invisible Man, Makoto, Artemis and Future Engineers to name a few. Many of the LGR releases have been also included in the various installments of the Progression Session series. Continue reading
Jump the Q
A mini-interview with 22 short questions (some personal, some tricky) looking for equally short answers, addressed to artists, producers, promoters, djs, friends and affiliates of the blog in general.
Today Chris Marigold of Blu Mar Ten Jumps the Q
Blu Mar Ten
Let’s get started:
Set 1: The man behind the mask