Magik Markers | 2020
Never doctrinaire, on 2020, Magik Markers capture a humid kind of chlorinated heat, playing like children of divorce at the condominium pool: strangers feeling out games to play, contests to have underwater, blowing by minutes without noticing at all. There is no more contemporary, they say, only emergency. So, here we are with results, the murky and public airing of songs, improvised and planned. Like damp concrete made up of the collected wet footprints of every single night since last we heard these Magik Markers. The results are amazing, sometimes, dare it be said: magical.
‘Surf’s Up’ opens ‘2020’ and is the redshift of this record, the reason we know light bends is because time changes it. We’ve flipped the event horizon; Magik Markers are now freaked out in space on a spaced-out bomb. It’s got a found-it-on-a-tape-inthe-attic vibe, echoes of John Carpenter’s ‘Dark Star’, Cale’s ‘Buffalo Ballet’ and Cassini’s namesake satellite taking cold old pictures alone in the airspace of Saturn’s sexiest moon. Here the Magik Markers have found a reason - a soft ballad that breaks into a piano/guitar improvisation that is somehow, in spite of itself, a revel.
Beneath the shifting, roiling surface of 2020, there is even more serious business going on. What Magik Markers do best is listening and as Shaw, Pete and Elisa worked with the tunes, they heard something taking shape. Less a style than a spirit - a spirit that had to do with a delight in friendship and invention. What matters now is John Shaw’s monolithic bass; Pete Nolan’s omnipotent drums and the magnificent immediacy of Elisa Ambrogio’s lyrics and guitar.
These songs are too contemporary to be subject to notices of timeliness but ‘Hymn for 2020’ feels so timely, the clean comfort and hot/coldness of this 2016 composition predicting the aseptic now.