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New Artist Spotlight: Marc-E Delivers a True Psychedelic ‘Catharsis’ on His Third LP

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Marc-E’s style has certainly changed since his first drop in 2015, a track he created with hip hop group The X Presidents called “One Soul.” After that largely acoustic track, Marc-E started adding production and sound design into his early work, and six years later he’s released his third full-length and fully psybient album, titled “Catharsis.” From his discography, it seems to have been quite a journey.

As soon as his first album Here Again released on Bandcamp, Marc-E started injecting ambient electronic elements into his work. His epic, 17-minute “Freedom Forest,” which is so ambient and natural it could easily have been on a spa or massage playlist. The very next track, “Wo! 6EQUJ5,” however, shows that Marc-E was still experimenting as it’s more techno-forward. Clearly a nod to Kraftwerk and other techno pioneers, by this time it’s also clear from this track that a move to EDM was starting to happen.

Marc-E’s second album, Sub Ek, is back to being very ambient and here we also see his spiritual side coming through 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’s lots of ambient sounds and varied beat structures. Lots of organic and acoustic instrumentation is used here as well: Indian tabla drums, echoey, Chant-style vocals, et al. Done as one continuous piece of music that extends through all the tracks, Sub Ek seems to have defined Marc-E’s style, at least for the forseeable future.

After releasing a cheeky and more dancey mix of “Nataraja” off of 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 instrumentation and drums, ambient production, EDM sensibility and even a little jazz to make a style all his own. Also done as sort of one continuous or contiguous work, Catharsis was just that for Marc-E. A contemplation of the times from the deepest possible perspective, track names like “Acceptance,” “Virtues of Isolation” and “Shadow Work” tap into the reality of what most of humankind was feeling between 2019 and now. Rather than getting angry or political, Catharsis advises that one take a journey behind one’s bellybutton and process those feelings. Whether by listening to trippy, psybient meditative music or by other means, this album reminds us that the inner work is often more important than whatever mess we’ve gotten ourselves into in the physical realm.

While it seems Marc-E has found his style with Catharsis, fans would be on warning to expect the unexpected with the Vancouver artist’s future offerings. This album is clearly an experimentation and, as stylized as it is, it’s still lose enough in said style to portend more experimentation and growth for Marc-E, both musically and personally. Here’s hoping all musicians do the same, after the pando and beyond.

Catharsis is out now and can be streamed on Spotify or purchased on Bandcamp, along with the rest of his storied discography. Check out some live studio performances on Marc-E’s YouTube channel.



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