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Beautiful Dirt
(2019 - self released - UK)

The beginning of this album gives off a titillating vibe, full of suspense and arpeggiated wilderness, carried by an open atmosphere of angular progressive rock and fusion in the world of instrumental King Crimson, Stickmen, Sonar, and the exotic explorations of Jon Hassell (without the trumpet of course). As a trio, the sound is rich and full, heavy at times, with perfection in balance and rhythmic bedazzlement. The cover art may suggest a more ambient album, but the compositions that bring the punches are generous and give those more spacious and carefully plodding pieces their tasteful place.

With plenty of varied influences (pieces of Weather Report, Terje Rypdal and the Chasers, Markus Reuter, and that genre of super flexible explorers, and of course all the aforementioned), the attention value is way high, extremely interesting, and packed with forward thinking ideas. The fact that all three members use a collection of electronics and wizardry, along with their main instruments, is a grand success, and a huge factor in the inventive result to 'Beautiful Dirt'. Mahatmosphere present a buffet of sounds, most displayed in the title cut 'Beautiful Dirt' (track #2) which is the longest track on the album (12:06), containing lots of fuzz (or grunge) bass, floating electronics in the celestial mode, and tight drums. Those interested can find some similar otherworldly bass and effects by Al Swainger on his solo Al Swainger's Pointless Beauty 'Outer Planets' release (2018) with two extended tracks. The following cut ('Stealth Blade') gives even more of that wandering theme, with wet reverb, big space expansion, and mystery by the mile.

Surprises happen in some of the compositions, although the music is mainly improvised, there are parts that just cry out "composed and practiced to perfection" simply due to the fact of brilliant arrangements, and small injections that are like a magic wand being used. The calibre of these three musicians say it all. Their ability to make this kind of music either on the fly or even with basic blueprint, is amazing to say the least. The ambient minutes truly strike accord with the forceful ones. The drifting passages give unselfish plateau for each artist to create textures, multi colors, and environments of rune, skyways to hues of beauty and awe.

The sculpturing and creation here is by Marco Anderson - drums, FX, vocoder and soundscapes/ Mark Lawrence - guitar and soundscapes/ Al Swainger - bass, FX and soundscapes. The album was mixed and mastered by Marco Anderson. Listeners who love a mix of the uncrowded profound with the distinct outer jazz fusion elements, and exotic climate, will adore this project. Hefty with moods, ripe with imagination, 'Beautiful Dirt' is fruition from a trio who this listener hopes will continue with more projects together. An aural pleasure and thought-provoking recording. RECOMMENDED.

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 12 - 2019
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