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CD: Mark Peters – Innerland | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mark Peters – Innerland

CD: Mark Peters – Innerland

The former Engineer turns cartographer on a simple yet articulate instrumental journey

This is what a treasure map looks like

This Saturday marks Record Shop Day, when Midas-touch music execs turn car-boot staples into gold simply by re-releasing them and charging 30 quid for the pleasure. Normally, the pressing-plant backlog that these needless, gaudy trinkets cause means that new music, typically that put out by innovative artists on small independent labels, gets moved to the back of the queue so that the big fat kids can get their dinner first.

Thankfully, Sonic Cathedral has managed to sneak in early and are releasing this expanded version of Mark Peters' mini-cassette album the day before, on Friday, April 20. Peters first came to notice with his band Engineers and has since released two albums with electronic musician and Tangerine Dream segment, Ulrich Schnauss. That makes Innerland his first solo outing, although it feels like it has been a long time in the making.

Innerland’s tracks started out as improvisational, ambient guitar recordings, with no clear direction, until Peters, back at his parent’s home, found a demo tape he’d recorded aged 19. Something clicked when he recognised that there was something shared in the spirit of both recordings – it gave him the direction he needed to finish the recordings: this is the result.

Freed up from the formally structured and densely layered sound of his former band, there is a newfound lyricism to his guitar playing. This is clearest during Innerland’s quieter passages: opener “Twenty Bridges”, “Gabriel’s Ladder” and “Ashurst's Beacon” (a deftly balanced blend of emotional expanse and careful constraint) all feel intensely conversational in their delivery and, most importantly, give us the space to reflect while we are in the piece.

When Peters decides to fill that space, however, he does so in bold, multi-coloured strokes. From the regimented ebb and flow of the musical swash that drives the second half of “Mann Island”, to the surprisingly heads-down guitar drive of “May Mill”, there are welcome layers of texture that give Innerland a rich and varied topography. Scenes emerge, views form, and there is much to harvest.

Peters has described Engineers’ approach to music making as architectural, each element forming an interlocking part of a greater whole. With Innerland, he has produced something more fluid: he has become a cartographer, mapping out a much more personal terrain and has done so with musically articulate assurance and deceptively simple beauty.


Freed up from the formally structured and densely layered sound of Engineers, there is a newfound lyricism to Peters' guitar playing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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