Marconi Union are Richard Talbot, Jamie Crossley and Duncan Meadows. The group originally formed circa 2002 when founding members Talbot & Crossley met whilst working in a Manchester record shop.
This month Just Music reissue Tokyo in an extended format and aptly named Tokyo+. The original album was released by German label Bine in 2009, but was only available in Germany as a very limited edition CD. Renamed Tokyo+, this release contains the original seven tracks together with a four track Live Studio Remixes EP.
Unlike other bands associated with Manchester, for over 10 years Marconi Union have quietly gone about their business produce a succession of excellent albums full of beautifully chilled, timeless and ambient instrumental music . Music that captures the essence of drifting clouds, gently lapping waves, relaxation and calm. Because of the unwavering and meticulous quality of the music Marconi Union produce, I am continually surprised to come across fans of ambient music that are not familiar with their work. This must been down to their attitude to the work and in no way a result of the quality of their output. Like their music, gently does it, not wishing to cause a stir or raise their heads too high in fear of exposure. So until that changes, I would like to announce Marconi Union as being the best kept secret of the past 10 years.
‘Tokyo+’ by Marconi Union, the original ‘Tokyo’ album together with a new accompanying EP ‘+’ of Live Studio Remixes is released this month by Just Music for the first time to a worldwide audience as a double album on 20th January 2017.
Marconi Union’s music develops an individual style all of its own with each release, and Tokyo was no exception: “The original idea (and title) for Tokyo stemmed from a chance comment. We had just finished recording a track and after playing it back one of us (we can’t remember who) said that it reminded them of Tokyo. Neither of of us had ever been to Tokyo and we realised that our entire conception of the city originated from films, TV and books. We liked this idea of creating music for a place that only existed in our minds. We weren’t interested in faithfully representing the reality of Tokyo and had no wish to make “authentic” Japanese music, we really just liked the images of Tokyo we’re regularly exposed to. We thought of this music as a form of Hi-Tech Ambience.”
The idea behind the accompanying Live Studio Remixes EP was Marconi Union grabbing the opportunity to return to the original material and explore it further. But rather than simply remixing the tracks they decided to completely deconstruct and rework them. Taking the original stems they created new loops and parts and combined the samples with live playing, with the addition of their live drummer, Phil Hurst. Each version was largely improvised and has that certain groove which can only really be achieved by the artists all playing live together at the same time. “We don’t perform live very often, so Tokyo + is a chance for our fans to hear not only updated versions of the Tokyo tracks, our present day take on its Hi-Tech Ambience, but also to hear us playing as a band.”
With Tokyo+, Marconi Union have released no fewer than 10 studio albums; and one as a collaboration with Jah Wobble. Since releasing the 2011 album Beautifully Falling Apart (Ambient Transmissions Volume 1), it appears the Just Music Label has fallen head over heels and made it their mantra to bring the wonderful music of Marconi Union to a wider audience by re-releasing all the albums (except Anomic Jah Wobble & Marconi Union – originally released on the 30 Hertz label).
Marconi Union Studio Albums
Under Wires and Searchlights (2003)
A Lost Connection (2008)
Beautifully Falling Apart (Ambient Transmissions Volume 1) (2011)
Different Colours (Just Music, 2012)
Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Volume 2) (Self-released limited 2012)
Anomic Jah Wobble & Marconi Union (30 Hertz 2013)
Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Volume 2) (Just Music, 2014)
Ghost Stations (Just Music, 2016)
Tokyo+ (Just Music, 2017)
Tokyo+ by Marconi Union is available via Just Music.