“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.
Secret Operations is an eclectic record label launched in 1999 by the prolific Swedish drum and bass artist Sebastian Ahrenberg, widely known to the electronic music circles as Seba, but it was not until 2004 that the label picked up pace with a consistent release schedule. The label was named after the homonymous club nights hosted by Seba himself at a basement bar called Tuben (Tube) during the second half of the 90s in Stockholm, Sweden. To the time of writing, Secret Operations has released 19 singles, one compilation entitled Case One, which was the inaugural release of the label featuring various artists alongside Seba, as well as Seba’s second personal album entitled Identity that has been recently released to critical acclaim.
Godisnolongeradj caught up with Lee Batchelor of Future Engineers in Athens after his gig, to discuss his new Exhale compilation on his own imprint Transference Recordings and all things Future Engineers, starting from day one.
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