The album format doesn’t lend itself to four-on-the-floor electronic dance music. There’s no recreation of the seamless, intoxicating thrill one finds in a night out dancing, and less savvy folk might find the idea of listening to an hours worth of repetitive, seven-minute-plus, machine music to be, frankly, boring. But they probably haven’t listened Mark E’s Stone Breaker, which is riveting in its primal simplicity. From the opening, gut-punching kick drums of “Archway” through the ecstatic triplets of closer “The Day,” Stone Breaker means business. It’s a record of pace and determination, full of classic house touchstones and steady, almost militant tempos, a reminder that electronic dance music is supposed to be forceful, if not altogether mean. Not once does it break its step or err from its course—it owns you, your body, and your mind from beginning to end.
Of course, it wasn’t supposed to be an album. When Wolverhampton-reared, Birmingham-based Mark found himself with some free time in mid-2010, he hit a stride in his productions, and an assortment of tracks that could have easily wound up on various 12-inches started to pile up. Almost by accident, Stone Breaker came into existence, full of confident, darkroom house that owes as much to Chicago as it does to the cosmos.
Percussion-wise, there’s not much diversity here, but that’s really the point: bombarding your inner cranium with hypnotic, earthquaking acid loops (“Belvide Beat”), their hi-hats and snares sounding more like weaponry than musical instruments. But, there’s also plenty of warmth—buoyant, spine-tickling jazz chords (“Black Moon,” “Oranges” ); floaty, staring-at-the sun disco dances (“Black Country Saga,” “Quatro”) and staticky, soul-drenched curveballs (“The Day”), all of which elevate Stone Breaker from a great set of DJ tracks to a great set of tracks for anyone, anywhere.
NOTE: The vinyl version only includes the tracks you see delineated in the tracklist to the right. Image 1 is the front cover for all formats. Image 2 is the inner, left-hand wallet panel of the CD version. Image 3 is the inner, right-hand wallet panel for the CD version. Image 4 is the back panel of the CD version. The vinyl version is slightly different and is a 2-panel jacket, not 4 panels. The vinyl version includes a copy of the CD version.
The 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-r...check out Mark E's page and other releases