Marc-E’s style has definitely changed since his first drop in 2015, a song he created with hip-hop group The X Presidents called “One Soul”. After that largely acoustic track, Marc-E began adding production and sound design to his early work, and six years later released his third full and completely clear album entitled ‘Catharsis’. His discography shows that it has been quite a journey.
As soon as his first album Here again released on Bandcamp, Marc-E began injecting ambient electronic elements into his work. His epic 17-minute “Freedom Forest” that’s so atmospheric and natural it could easily have been on a spa or massage playlist. However, the next track, “Wo! 6EQUJ5”, shows that Marc-E was still experimenting because it’s more techno-forward. Clearly a nod to Kraftwerk and other techno pioneers, by then it’s clearly out too. this number that a switch to EDM started happening.
Marc-E’s second album, Sub Ek, is back to very ambient and here we also see his spiritual side coming back on tracks like “Totem”, “Rite of Passage”… the whole album really. This is where Marc-E really goes psybient: all the elements of psytrance but instead of trance there are lots of ambient sounds and varied beat structures. Here too a lot of organic and acoustic instrumentation is used: Indian tabla drums, echoey, To sing-style vocals, et al. Done as one continuous piece of music stretching through all tracks, Sub Ek seems to have defined Marc-E’s style, at least for the foreseeable future.
After releasing a cheeky and more dance-like mix of “Nataraja” from Sub Ek and a tease release of “Brahman” in 2019, catharsis released last month. It’s a culmination of all Marc-E’s style over the years, blending acoustic instruments and drums, ambient production, EDM sensibility and even a bit of jazz to make it a style all its own. Also done as a kind of continuous or continuous work, catharsis was just that for Marc-E. A look at time from the deepest possible perspective, track names like ‘Acceptance’, ‘Virtues of Isolation’ and ‘Shadow Work’ tap into the reality of what most people felt between 2019 and now. Instead of getting angry or political, catharsis advises taking a trip behind the navel and processing those feelings. Whether we listen to trippy, psybient meditative music or otherwise, this album reminds us that the inner work is often more important than the mess we find ourselves in in the physical realm.
Although it seems Marc-E has found his style with catharsis, would warn fans to expect the unexpected with the Vancouver artist’s future offerings. This album is clearly an experiment and, stylized as it is, it still loses enough in that style to portend more experimentation and growth for Marc-E, both musically and personally. I hope all musicians do the same, after the pando and after.
catharsis is out now and can be streamed on Spotify or purchased on Bandcamp, along with the rest of his storied discography. Watch some live studio performances on Marc-E’s YouTube channel.