Marconi Union - Beautifully Falling Apart - Sunday Times

31 July 2011
Sunday Times
Mark Edwards
4 Stars

Since their 2003 debut, Under Wires and Searchlights, Marconi Union have been elegantly exploring the connections between electronica, ambient and post-rock; and if all that is so much gobbledygook to you, let's just say that they make instrumental music with more depth and substance than that floaty chillout nonsense. That said, their latest release comes with the word "ambient" in the subtitle, so have they moved closer to floaty chillout nonsense? Fortunately not. Although Beautifully Falling Apart is noticeably different from their previous works, relying more on textures than on any more conventional structure, it is saved from aimlessness by the fact that - as ever- the band have set themselves a clear brief: to examine how beauty can emerge from unbeautiful acts. As they put it: "Late at night a gang of roadworkers work under floodlights at the side of the motorway. One uses an angle grinder to cut stone. He is lit from behind and surrounded by a shower of sparks and shadows. In that moment you see only the striking beauty of the image and forget about the hard, dangerous and dirty job he's doing." Not an easy idea to explore via music, but Marconi Union manage it. And if that all sounds a little too conceptual, the key point is that the first word of the album's title is entirely appropriate.
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Beautifully Falling Apart: Ambient Transmissions Vol. 1Beautifully Falling Apart: Ambient Transmissions Vol. 1