Marconi Union

Marconi Union, dark stage with rows of spotlights pointing straight at the camera


Marconi Union’s music is a long lost signal only just recently received from the depths of space. As we awaken, the black corona that we thought of as the cosmos evaporates — it was really just an inner chasm of the mind as we drifted over the hills and far away. Marconi Union drift on ambient waves, frequencies that transform into shifting stone statues intertwining in a tribal dance. Chameleon colours leak and then blend together in a beautiful release for the soul. Their music is perfect for meditation, and “Weightless” is a great description (prescription), levitating in a trance-like state throughout.

A pumping heartbeat provides the rhythm of the opener, keeping perfect time with the rhythm of life. Marconi Union’s music slows the pulse and the racing heart, lowering the internal rhythm until it enters a sedate state, a fluid zone where you can chill out after a long day. The original “Weightless” track has in the past seen itself top the ambient–relaxation charts and was once described as being “the world’s most relaxing song”. That’s ambient music for you.

For “Weightless”, the Manchester trio worked with a sound therapist from The British Academy of Sound Therapy. It is, no doubt, a relaxing listen, music that floats in and around the space amongst us. Nothing is invasive, nothing can hurt you. Like an unborn in the womb, we just listen, cocooned in ambient safety. Who needs sleeping pills when the best kind of ambient music can make you this drowsy, this calm? If you fell asleep while listening to an ambient album, the artist would probably take it as a compliment.

The drones cover the track with their own kind of ambient emulsion, a flowing liquid that ebbs and flows like a tidal cycle. Marconi Union play with subtle dub elements — a fat, chunky KitKat of a bass can be heard, but its use is minimal and well controlled. The music is a swirling, spacious canopy of light, a treehouse built on ambient repetition. Chimes repeat and speak of nature, a rural landscape that looks like Heaven on Earth. The heart rate aligns itself with the slow tempo, unlocking the visual areas of your inner mind as you travel along, passing underneath a totem of trees that whoosh and swish as if breathing.

It’s an ambient temple of imagination, flowing with placid, effortless and natural tones. Jazzy percussive flavours walk with light, inner city steps, but they take you away from everything — it’s just you and the music. A synth pad becomes a lily pad, floating on an island of calm. The music is weightless, yes — despite the prevalence and the gravity of the occasional bass.

Marconi Union are the kings of the castle, minus the dirty rascals. Their music looks out at the world with peace and positivity, all the while accelerating as fast as the Eurostar through a blurry, beautiful land or two. Later on, sleek, shiny guitar lines come out to play, laminated notes that gleam with vitality. Subtle electronic layers fall into deep tonal pools, cleansing everything. They run on cruise control — which in ambient circles is a very good thing — but this isn’t just another ambient airline. It sends you away, until you land, once again, in the real world; back to the European rain.


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