Alternative music reviews

Mark Sheeky

Animalia Jan 2005

A new CD from solo keyboardist Mark Sheeky. I reviewed his earlier work Spiral Staircase a while ago. This one is different in that it has 12 tracks (Staircase was a single 19 minute piece of music) and so shows a much greater range of music and sound.

Andromeda is a wonderful track - full of melody and texture Mice has a suggestion of the classic 'Popcorn' with it's short staccato melody. It's one of a number of 'throwaway' pieces that are good fun but Mark always returns to the more grandiose style that he does so well.

There is a definite Sheeky sound. It's a great buzzy, majestic sound that is easy to listen to without being too twee - perhaps only missing the equivalent of a bass guitar in sonic range. He knows about simplicity and when to add in extra sound effects. Check out his website for any MP3s. This is one talented bastard, currently working in lonely furrow, who should be heard.

The Spiral Staircase June 2003

At nearly 38 minutes of music, The Spiral Staircase is of epic proportions and is more akin to a soundtrack for an art-house movie than, say, the indie rock of Add N To (X). Lots of different textures - arpeggiated riffs a la Pillip Glass, thick Bladerunner type chords, pitchbending that sounds like bits from Star Trek, underwater sqelching, hints of a choral Melletron in the backing. It's very inventive and well executed. I particularly like the only non-electronic sound I spotted - a manic laugh about 19 minutes into the piece. My taste in electronic is more Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Tuxedo Moon, Pere Ubu.

Mark's music doesn't quite hit the spot with me but he does demonstrate real ability and control of the textures and melodies he uses. I'd love to hear him with a band.

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