steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Mark Bradley

"Sanctity" CDR

Striate Cortex

Genre: indie rock


April 2010

Mark Bradley's discography just keeps on expanding, and I'm doing my best to follow along. On Sanctity, one of 2010's offerings, we encounter more wistful, synth-tinged ambience, decked out in a slim DVD case done by the swell Striate Cortex label. The cover depicts a curiously misshapen image of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, mistakenly attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, hinting at a vague spiritual theme which pervades the disc's solemn drone. Track titles like “Sacred Souls,” “Devotion,” and “Blessedness” give way to restful but melancholy passages of ambience, which range between tuneful keyboard ether (“Sacred Souls,” “Before the Darkness”) and dark ambient brooding (“Sacrosanctus,” “Blessedness”). As is the case with the entire Bradley canon, the emphasis is on atmosphere and texture, though several of Sanctity's tracks seem to invest more effort into what might be termed quasi-melody – the pretty piano twinkles of “Silent” or the murky, Biosphere-esque keys of “Sacred Souls” perhaps encapsulating this notion best.

Of course, when faced with Bradley's music, one is tempted to shut off the lights, curl into bed, and put it on as a prelude to a doze, and I do feel that is the most optimal context for soaking in his drone. Sanctity's slow builds and gradual evolutions mean it works best when there is the option to snooze. Beyond bedtime, it also operates well as accompaniment music – the sort of peaceful mood-setter that plays as you're reading, or working, or tidying the household... Regardless, there is something subtle about Bradley's craft that keeps me coming back, and I'd wager that the ever-growing laundry list of microlabels that keep issuing his material have clued into that same, vague thing.

mark bradley's myspace

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2010]