A Thousand Beautiful Things: Inside the Blu Mar Ten albums

“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.

Mosaic

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.

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Tracks I Wish I’d Written (issue #4): Future Engineers – Eden

“I’m not a big believer in magic. But this place is different. It’s special. The others don’t want to talk about it because it scares them. But we all know it. We all feel it … But what if everything that happened here, happened for a reason? … That’s impossible … I looked into the eye of the island, and what I saw … was beautiful.”

Lost TV series, Season 1, Episode 5 “White Rabbit”, aired October 2004

Future Engineers – Eden

This is the fourth installment of the blog’s “Tracks I Wish I’d Written” series. Every track that is presented here has been selected from my personal record collection and has had a profound impact on my musical taste. Featuring a variety of tracks across the electronic music spectrum, emphasizing mainly on drum and bass, from undisputed classics to underrated gems, all are tracks I wish I had written, as the title of the series implies.

The fourth issue is about a modern classic by Future Engineers (Lee Batchelor & Keir Kleminson); the outfit that re-designed the atmospheric drum and bass blueprint in the second half of the 90s, borrowing from the immediacy of techno, without neglecting their trademark musicality. Continue reading

Tracks I Wish I’d Written (issue #3): Saint Etienne – The Sea (PFM mix)

“Down by the Sea, No-one but me, Caught in the rain, I’m free again, Stood on the pier, No trace of tears, Right back where I started from, I know that I wasn’t wrong, Right back where I started from”

Saint Etienne – Down By The Sea, Continental LP, L’appareil-Photo/ReadyMade Records, Japan, 1997

This is the third installment of the blog’s new series “Tracks I Wish I’d Written”.

Every track that is presented in the series is selected from my personal record collection and has had a profound impact on my music taste. Featuring a variety of tracks across the electronic music spectrum, emphasizing mainly on drum and bass, from undisputed classics to underrated gems – all tracks I wish I had written, as the title of the series clearly states.

The third issue of the series is about one of the most exhilarating and beautiful fusions of pop sensibility in a drum and bass context. PFM, an artist always in the vanguard of the atmospheric and ambient side of drum and bass, has applied his studio wizardry to capture the desolation and melancholy of a pop song and encapsulate it in an elegant and illustrious drum and bass masterpiece.

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