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When Mark McGuire's 12-minute-long 'The Instinct' dropped on 12" late last year with a similarly epic B-side, I was under the misapprehension that it was a small but perfectly formed mini-album. Clearly I was mistaken as the track also features on this rather more substantial new opus from the Emerald. It's a sprawling double-LP epic; according to its press release a "conceptual album [which] details the inner journey of an individual seeking definition and enlightenment".
Thankfully it details this inner journey wordlessly, and so the concept is fairly broad and intangible - of course what you really have in store is more than an hour of silky cosmic synth and guitar tomfoolery which opens with spare but increasingly intricate guitar loops, Dustin Wong-style, and makes a general shift to more meditative and synth heavy compositions as the album progresses, with the second half of the album being generally fuller-sounding and more uplifting than the first. 'The Instinct' and its chuggy little sister 'Silent Weapons (The Architects of Manipulation)' seem to act as a pivotal point where the album really opens up and gets more uplifting and self assured.
It's an album that's meant to be savoured, and it's best served by setting aside a whole hour to really immerse yourself in the full journey. As is so often the case here, time is short and this record is a huge and subtle achievement, so I apologise that this review is so lacking in meaningful analysis. I'm looking forward to spending more time with this one though - it's as life-affirming and ambitious as you would hope. McGuire remains yet to disappoint.
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