Marconi Union - Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Vol. 2) - Album Review

When you ask a leading ambient music group like MARCONI UNION what their musical influences are, it is interesting the answer you get. The band says their sonic inspirations include Kraftwerk, King Tubby, Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Neu, Wire, Avro Part, David Bowie, Joy Division, Brian Eno, Scott Walker, Marvin Gaye, Moritz van Oswald, Can and Lou Reed. You might have to listen very closely and stretch your imagination to hear some of those influences in the music on the latest Marconi Union album -- WEIGHTLESS (AMBIENT TRANSMISSIONS Vol. 2). But there are a touch of the man-machinations of Kraftwerk in Weightless Part 4, a hint of avant-garde chording (a la Miles) in Weightless Part 5, and more obvious tip-of-the-hats to Reich and Eno throughout.

There are six “Weightless” tracks on the CD (Parts 1 through 6). The first part was saddled with the label “most relaxing song ever” by something called the Mindlab Institute. We can only imagine what kind of drugs are being ingested in that place. Ken Kesey would be proud. Come to think of it, with most drugs you would probably say the same thing about this slow, soft, gentle tune that offers only some dense textures and floating synth plus a few erratic notes that jump out of the mix. But for ambient music, it works. The other five tracks often have some sparse pulsing rhythms or are builders as they slowly grow more tense as they go along.

This recording is a “must have” for ambient music fans. If you have never before taken an ambient excursion, all I can say is keep your mind wide open (and maybe first stop by the back door of the Mindlab Institute when those guys head out to dinner).