Mark Barrott – Sketches From An Island Album Review

Mark Barrott’s newest album Sketches From An Island compresses this Balearic heartbeat into nine warm gems which paint a picture of the island, the people and the magnetic beauty that pulses through it.

Barrott himself is a man of serious musical pedigree. He founded the highly-respected International Feellabel in 2008 after moving to Uruguay, where his A&Ring tempted the elusive DJ Harvey out of studio retirement which he followed with new work from artists like Quiet Village, Gatto Fritto and the Italian cosmic disco don Daniele Baldelli.

Recorded in Ibiza’s northern hills using “weird percussion, some slide guitars and a few borrowed synths,” Sketches is a melodic and mysterious representation of a place seeped in a rich and rebellious history. Or as original Café Del Mar’s José Padilla, has it: “This is what I call Balearic.”

Baby Come Home kick starts the record with its summery, repetitive melody that allows this to become one hell of a soothing track. It has funk influences heard in the guitar riff while the natural sounds, such as the pipes, allow this song to let you feel free and careless.

Dr Nimm’s Garden Of Intrigue & Delight is very experimental and has a distinctly sci-fi feel to it. There’s psychedelic elements which make it atmospheric. Dr Nimm’s has a heavy electronic feel to it in comparison to Baby Come Home due to the use of lots of synths. Barrott has added natural sounds such as birds tweeting, the sound of waves etc that all compliment the title of the song – this idea of a wonderful, colourful, exotic garden of tranquillity and wonder.

Go Berri Be Happy changes the tone of the album entirely. This song has folk influences and lends itself to sound a little Laura Marling in places but without vocals. It gradually develops into the sort of track you hear on those chill out compilations. It’s soothing, sensuous and sparkling.

Deep Water introduces more World influences than heard in the previous tracks on the record. It starts with a meditative continuous sound and soft chimes blended with the sound of waves crashing gently on the shore. Gradually the pan pipes and the African drum come in giving this track a deep, meditative effect on the brain. Your muscles release as you listen, your mind pictures that perfect beach with light blue, warm sea to dive in and a smile creeps onto your face. It’s the perfect summer track. It’s the perfect track for your secluded island break.

Sacred Islands finishes off the album leaving the listener with a steady mind and calm breath. The sounds of birds are the only thing heard to start with before the soft piano steps in alongside the strings. Sacred Islands builds slowly and with each new note or instrument, the listener becomes more settled. The song ends with the natural sounds of birds singing and tweeting – what else could you ask for to keep you calm and happy?

Mark Barrott’s Skecthes From An Island is a cracking album for your summer. If you’re looking for chill out music that keeps you dreaming of hot weather, beautiful beaches and good times, look no further. This is the album for you. Sketches From An Island is out now.

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