Following the release of the critically acclaimed Along the Way, Mark McGuire’s new vinyl ep focuses on the 12-minute title track. Named after clouds that emit light during the night, Noctilucence is inspired by the quiet tension that we all feel on nighttime strolls. Revisit the haunting and elaborate compositions we have come to love from all things related to Emeralds.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 13 November 2014
Mark McGuire’s quiet tenure with drone act Emeralds recently ended, and he now works as a self-employed, stay-at-home ambient composer, creating startling and structurally dynamic works that utilise layers of omnipresent synth patchwork complemented with flattened out IDM beats. The EP is a striking, unexpected journey through the night, taking its artwork quite literally: rather than just sit and stare at the twilit landscape, like most ambient artists would be wont to do, McGuire goes on a little road trip, tinkering with twinkling melodies and propulsive vocals.
‘Noctilucence’ is an EP of gentility and sweetness: McGuire hasn’t been this relaxed in a long time, and only lets his quiet compositions explode in multi-coloured bursts of euphoria -- “Earth Grid” sounds like an M83 song before the storm came on ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, with textures shooting off into the sky like fireworks. The twelve minute title-track uses a funky guitar back line to upend a slowly climaxing jam that falls somewhere between the reckless EDM of a nondescript club of your choice and a Factory Floor show. But the whole thing is produced in such a soft, restrained way that it never feels like too much: it’s bombastic and huge, but it has a strangely quiet quality that makes for good lounge music.
‘Noctilucence’ is a strangely comforting gem, showing a drone perfectionist trying to work on something active and intense but coming out the other end with the same graceful stillness. Whether or not he intended it to sound like this -- that Big Sound, done lite -- it’s a nice treat. They say ‘nice’ is a bad word, but I think ‘nice drone’ is a good phrase.
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- Noctilucence by Mark McGuire
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