Hear The Track HereFor older members of Soundclick there was a period around 2003/4 that most of us now see as a kind of Golden Age (probably more a dirty yellow really but hey...). The forums were stuffed to the brim with readable, coherent threads and the music was - beyond all shadow of a doubt - groundbreaking in so many ways. Names like Maria Daines and Paul Killington, Jim-n-Lisa, Nad Sylvan, Bonamici, dcallen, Freqencee and many many others were regular daily visitors to the forums and the site and the place - as they say - was jumping. Like all good things though, it had to come to an end and it did and IMHO Soundclick has been much the poorer for its passing. We lost some fine, fine artists along the way - or they went in search of better pastures. One of those musicians I have though of often since then and wondered where the devil he was, is a musician who used to be known as the Big Ship. For my money, Big Ship's releases were a bit of event, although I have to admit I had severe misgivings at the beginning.
We are talking 'lo-fi' here....
I reviewed Pilesar's Care last month and was surprised to see Marcus Sjoland (aka the Big Ship) back in action again, and a most pleasant collaboration it was too. It brought back all the reasons why I liked this idiosyncratic songwriter in the first place. God bless Pilesar, I say because his excellent Chameleon Dish Archive has just released Marcus's new project (Bakers At Dawn) As Is CD as a free download - yep all nine tracks. For all the Syd Barrett (and other lo-fi songwriters) references I have made in the past, that is only the starting point for understanding why this musician tickles my pleasure centres. Listen, for example, for the textures and tones that permeate Better And All, the first track, and you'll see what I mean. The references tumble out of the track like falling rain, each one as valid as the next, he is an artist that draws from just about everywhere. The one thing that is immediately obvious is there isn't anyone who quite does it like Marcus and as I Always Know I'm Right slides past your ears is an indication of how much he has matured in his style since I last heard from him.
Always the master of the simple, Crash and Crater, leaps out of the speakers like an excited puppy eager to show you its tricks, and considering its probably one of the most reduced tracks you are ever likely to be it has a great and enduring charm. Given that CDA has also just released the latest Thomas J/The Antennaheadz EP, there are bound to be some references to the similarity between these two lo-fi songwriters and they would be fair comment. Except that Marcus has been pursuing this style a lot longer than Thomas and I think even he would own up to having Marcus as a musical inspiration. Whatever you do though, don't go delving into this CD expecting state of the art, its just the state of Marcus's art and that is more than good enough for me. Although a lot of the tracks hit me the right way, there a couple that didn't do that much, but when I have all these tracks to chose from, I cannot help but be happy. Excellent lo-fi songwriter with an enviable reputation.
MUST HAVE (for free!!)