he music of Mark E is overwhelmingly deliberate, and in that sense it’s quintessential house—unswerving, mechanistic, intoxicatingly simple. And life imitates art: the Wolverhampton-reared, Birmingham-based DJ/producer has had a slow, steady ascension to his status as one of the genre’s most natural talents.
Mark E’s love affair with electronic dance music began began early, as an adolescent, when Manchester was Madchester and the irreverent attitude of rave culture swept through England. His first record? Bizarre Inc’s exuberant, piano-loaded “Playing With Knives,” a fortuitous introduction to the hypnotizing powers of house. As Mark got older, he dove headfirst into the surprisingly fertile Wolverhampton scene, tasting house at the hands of legends like John Kelly and Frankie Knuckles before a move to Birmingham for University also installed him in a larger club scene.
Mark’s first forays into production were, naturally, edits—warm, understated, and interestingly mellow, with tempos hovering
somewhere between 105 and 115 BPM. (Or thereabouts.) Once “Scared,” a ten-minute rework of Womack & Womack’s “Baby, I’m Scared Of You,” found the ears of influential selector (and, more importantly, BBC radio DJ) Giles Peterson, it was on, and a solid string of memorable, vinyl-only releases introduced the world at large to this humble, devoted househead. Slowly (again), Mark went beyond edits and into original production, starting his own label, MERC, and honing a sound that was uniquely blue collar and utilitarian—classic, almost industrial house, with a tinge of disco warmth.
A stellar remix for Matthew Dear’s “Little People (Black City)” introduced him to the Ghostly/Spectral fold, who are now releasing his first artist album, Stone Breaker. It’s as defining as anything he’s done, a symbol of his unique spot in the global club music landscape, sounding simultaneously familiar and unique like few others can.