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Marvin Wilson Reviews Page

Marvin Wilson- Synchronisn
In the digital age, is there room for such a thing as analog electronic music? Marvin Wilson certainly thinks so, and shows us how it is done with his latest release, Synchronism. The nine tracks on the album were proudly created "with hardware and tape," as he puts it, and the results are some of the warmest, and most "human" electronic music I have heard in ages.Synchronism has been released by the Scottish Alex Tronic Records label, and they are something of a brand name for me. I have been impressed by everything I have heard from them, but that still did not prepare me for this.In 2013, Daft Punk's Random Access Memories or Authechre's Exai represent the state of the art. But when the retro-futurism of Synchronism flowed out of my speakers, it felt like I had been in the desert for days, and was just handed pitcher of ice-cold water.Everything that made me such a fan of this music in the first place came rushing back to me with the opening notes of "Coming to Life." My baptism into the genre was nearly 40 years ago, when I heard the three-minute single edit of Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" on my little AM transistor radio. I followed the music on and off until I discovered something called "ambient techno" came along. Bands such as The Orb, early Aphex Twin, and System 7 took over my life for a spell. But as so often happens, they eventually moved in other directions, which I did not necessarily follow.With the nine tracks on Synchronism, Marvin Wilson has made the first new album in what I consider to be the "classic" style that I have heard in nearly 20 years. It has been a long wait, but worth it
The album opens with "Coming to Life." Besides the glorious analog soundbeds, the song has a drum beat reminiscent of Kraftwerk's "The Robots." The aptly titled "Sonic Adventurers" is next, and begins very quietly, in near-ambient territory. There is a very fine line between getting the mix right, and straying too far in either direction. An example of this can be found in System 7's music, who sometimes lean too heavily on the beats for me. Wilson hits it perfectly, with just the right amounts of atmosphere, and subtle beats.
"A Degree of Automation" made me wonder if Wilson had read Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and had written his own score for it. With "Pavilion 58" I thought to call it "retro-techno," but that would be too cute, and inaccurate. This music really has nothing to do with what we have come to know as techno. There is a beat, and I suppose you could dance to it, but I consider this head music"One Lost City," and "Consideration for the Future" close the set in an outstanding fashion. I hear a musical line running from Kraftwerk to the Orb and beyond, and Marvin Wilson upholds the tradition brilliantly. There are marvelous atmospheres, beats that move the songs along in just the right places, but most importantly there are the melodies. For some reason, nobody seems to mention that aspect, but I believe it is incredibly significant.The balance of beats, atmospheres, and melodies is a tricky thing, and Wilson gets it right on every track. To do this "the old-fashioned way" is even more impressive. I know that he is not doing this to impress people, but rather because this is the only way to get the sound he wants. It makes a difference, believe me.I think Synchronism is a brave record, because it goes against all of the prevailing trends. The type of marketing departments behind the Lady Gagas of the world would surely argue against releasing this album. I am very happy that the people at Alex Tronic Records do not think that way, and have given Wilson a platform.Sychronism is a disc I will be listening for a long time to come. I still play such favorites as The Orb's U.F.Orb and Aphex Twin's Analogue Bubblebath regularly. Marvin Wilson's Synchronism joins them as an instant classic. 

. Greg Barbrick – Blinded by Sound Magazine

Marvin Wilson Our Time Will Come ATRCD116- Release Date Friday September 11th /09

The third album released by Marvin and again released on Edinburgh`s electronica label Alex Tronic Records

Marvin Wilson - Our Time Will Come
THE third album released by Marvin and once again released on the great Edinburgh-based electronica label Alex Tronic Records.
Our Time Will Come is an instrumental mix of the blissed out heavenly and pounding rage. While album opener Majestic Sleep would be perfect for the sun lounger on a morning after, second song The Brink slams the senses like guitar-less The Prodigy. Drum n bass drums, plastic tear synths sounds drive the song on and on into seven minutes of trance heaven. You can almost see the Kraftwerk train wheels on the stripped down Good To See You. Just Before Midnight is a slow mind filler with noises pulling you this way and that. Unlike many electronica albums the end doesn't drift off into the ether. Connecting Stars is a pumping house track that slaps your face with a laser fish. Top stuff.
Our Time Will Come will be released on Friday, September 11.

Our Time Will Come is out on Friday September 11th/ 09

Rick Fulton -The Daily Record

Marvin Wilson Our Time will Come-ATRCD116

The press release starts off “Alex Tronic Records are proud to be releasing the third Marvin Wilson album.” As well they should be. This record is a real head-trip, the kind we have come to expect from Monsieur Tronic – beats, electronica and bass. Wilson has also spoken of “watching some of my favourite films and remembering how they can make you feel,” This would account for why this album has such a cinematic quality.

One can imagine car chases and slo-mo gunfights being played out to this album. Tracks such as ‘Majestic Sleep’ and ‘Good To See You’ draw you in and suck you right down to the blackhearted core of this album, fuelled by frustration and pure anger.

Each of the album’s nine tracks has something special about it – a synth part or a riff, maybe – that allows it its’ own little moment in the sun. But what’s remarkable is how beautifully the album, as a whole, flows. This is an album that has obviously been made out of anger and frustration at the way the world is heading. But it’s also a great fun record and that’s what will keep people playing it, time and again

Jonathan Muirhead /Is this Music Magazine.

- Being Here ATRCD050

-By Rick Fulton The Daily Record 4/4/08
A DEBUT album from the home of Edinburgh electronica label Alex Tronic Records. Marvin Wilson starts his 10 track album with Imagine Instead. It’s a bit dodgy to begin with, some old synths sounds of a voice that could be from a dentist’s chill out tape. But stick with it as the drums and bass kick it a tune develops getting better and better with a guitar riff breaking through the walls of sound. After that the instrumental tunes just get better and better. Before Flying is hard house trance, A New Day is Kraftwerk back on the Autobahn, At The Beginning is gritty metal synth, Boomerang has the alarm noise of classic Underworld. Two blissed out tracks Being Here is Not Being Alone and Living Spaces close the album calming everything down. Being Here is an album for those afternoons after the night before.


A beautiful mix of downbeat ambience and soaring euphoria, this is one of Alex Tronic's finest releases to date, a wonderfully decadent flight through clouds of summery instrumentation driven by powerful beats. Wilson could be criticised for his lack of subtlety, with a predilection for a fairly simplistic mixture of clean ambient sounds and basic four-bar structures, but the epic emotional drive of tracks like Boomerang and Before Flying is irresistibly catchy. It doesn't always work perfectly, and the mellow ambience of Living Spaces lacks the necessary drive and potency, and Imagine Instead uses a delirious techno kickdrum pattern that becomes a little predictable. For the most part, however, Wilson has crafted a piece of astonishingly positive electronic music. While most obviously suited to the aftermath of a heavy night, the sunny vibes and Balearic sounds can lift the listener above the gloom of Glasgow's iron-grey skies and perpetual drizzle

. [Liam Arnold] Skinny Magazine April /08





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Escape Artist : An Interview With Keser

Who are Keser and what are they all about?
Keser is primarily the work of myself (Kevan Whitley). I write and record the songs. I can play solo for live shows or draft in a bass player if necessary. David Reid played a few shows in the past and played bass in the studiofor most of the tracks on 'Esoteric Escape'. I used to play in guitar bands for a while before going solo, I wanted to mix guitar-orientated music with electronica and see what happened.
What are the main influences that helped create Keser sound?
I've always been a big fan of guitar bands and more recently electronica artists. It seemed natural for 'post rock' to progress further into various different routes and mixing it with electronica has achieved an interesting cross-over. The plan from the outset was to create reflective,futuristic music with abalance of analogue and digital sounds... I guess my main influences wouldbe Mogwai, Aereogramme, Arab Strap, Low, Stafraenn Hakon, Boards ofCanada, M83, Fourtet and many more.
Your new album "Esoteric Escape" has just been released, you describedtheproduction as a "steep learning curve". What did you learn?
Paul Croan (Alex Tronic Records Label Manager) and I recorded and mixed the majority of the album. I had no previous experience of the process and I learned as I went along - the production process, software, using the mixing desk, editing tracks etc. I learned a lot in a short time (Paul is an excellent mentor and fantastic producer) and it was extremely satisfying to do the entire album independently.
The first few tracks were recorded at Hidden Channel in Glasgow by a good friend, Gavin Dick. He's very talented as well so I'm privileged to learn from these guys. Geoff Allen from CaVa also lent his experience, his input at the mastering stage was class. He had great stories of working with bands I have great respect for. I had no idea what input he had on the bands' recordings but, for example, if you listen to 'Solemn Thirsty' by Malcom Middleton... At the end when the guitar melody comes through prior to the vocal melody and sets it up brilliantly...that was Geoff's idea. Small details like thatare so important on a record!
The obvious input from Geoff for us was on 'Destination:Destiny' when it gets damn heavy! Similarly, Paul has great ideas for the production and whatsounds best where, the experience he offers is priceless. To achieve the sounds and atmosphere wedid was incredible to see taking shape. The focus and effort from Paul andI had to be relentles, but we're extremely happy with the outcome.
Is there anything you would change about it now?
Not a thing. I would have preferred another couple of tracks we had recorded were on there but it would have been too long. But it's a snapshot of where the music was at, at the time, and it's a busy, vibrant picture!.
Mogwai claim their song titles are taken from magazines such as The National Enquirer, how does Keser come up with their song titles?.
Anything I see or like the sound of at the time can become a song title. "FM Rocker" is taken from an Aerosmith biography for example. 'Rolling' was just a working title in the song's early days as I thought the middle section sounded like a RollingStones song! We are Closed on Every Tuesday is a sign on the door of my favourite Chinese Take Away. They have a great Happy Hour price but, for one reason or another,they are closed on every Tuesday.
Most bands hate to be pigeonholed, what is your take on genre's such as post-rock?
Laziness. Some people need to be told what bands are like without finding out and forming their own opinions. Summing up a band into a couple of words is ludicrous. The best thing is to do is hear them for yourself. We'll sometimes use the term 'post rock electronica' as we feel we fit into this genre, it has sufficiently vast connotations so as not to be too 'pigeon-holed' but at the same time appealing to a niche musical genre.
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) recently expressed concern about websites such as Myspace'influence over the music world, in terms of development of bands. What is your take on this?
I have not seen this so I can't comment. Myspace seems to be an excellent medium for music at present though.
Many bands develop over the years, what do you see as Keser strengths at themoment, and what weaknesses (if any) would you like to improve on?
I guess our main strength is our hard-working ethos, from the band and label. You can always improve, though.
Back to the album, Is there any significant meaning in the title "Esoteric Escape"
Yes. It's about striving to achieve truth about our lives, escaping the mysticism of why we are all here, why anything is here and seeing a bigger perspective. It was a theme of many of the songs so it was an apt summation. I am surprised that there is not a lot of focus on this in general when it is easily the single most important thing.
Your record was released on Edinburgh based label Alex Tronic. What is this label all about and what other bands are on it?
Alex Tronic Records is an Edinburgh-based indie label and studio run by Paul Croan. Alex Tronic Records has four artists so far on the label, Pockets of Resistance, Åsa, Keser and Alex Tronic himself (Paul Croan). Alex Tronic has released and licenced music to many labels notably Koyote/Peyote Records and Cherry Red Records. He has also dabbled in scoring the music for film and TV. The label has a stall at theupcoming Spectrum Festival at the Queen's Hall on Sunday October 22nd alongside other labels such as Benbecula Records. This will prove to be excellent exposure for a relatively new and underground label.
What is your favourite track from "Esoteric Escape".
"4_Cycles". This song was unique in that it wasn't written before entering the studio, it happened as we went along. Paul let me have free reign for a couple of hours, at one point he heard the guitar riff, put his paper down and said "that's it! let's go" and we started from there. Most of that song is first takes throughout and was completed in a few hours, we're both extremely happy with it and it's an enjoyable song to do live.
Your set up involves a drum machine, would you consider using live drums in the future?
Yes, there were even plans for using live drums in "Esoteric Escape " so it should happen at some point.
What is Edinburgh's music scene like. Is there any bands I should check out(apart from Keser) the next time I'm there.
It's doing well despite some of the recent closure of venues.......... 'This is Music' (, 'New Found Sound'(, andTaylorMadeMusic (www.taylormademusic) do extremely well to promote the live scene, as do Bannerman's ( to name a few. There's a lot of great bands here, I'll have to forward you some links.
Many 'critics' have lamented the poor state of the music scene in the UK. Do you agree?
Wholeheartedly. The scene that we hear and read about anyway. There is so much more to the scene that sadly does not receive as much recognition as the established and hyped acts, but this has been the case for a long time. I found recently an old article in my old room at home from 1995. It was aboutRadiohead, 'Britain's Best Kept Secret' the headline read. The press should have been ashamed. They attracted little and dismissive attention in the early days and that headline summed it up..then the UK press realised how good they were but were too late. They covered themselves by proclaiming Radiohead to be 'the best band in the world' after OK Computer, this was obviously dertrimental to the band's state of mind at the time. I digress.
Are you for or against the use of file-sharing networks such as Soulseek and Limewire?
I prefer having the records physically, the album sleeves, lyrics and notes etc and a good quality recording over anything else.
There are some pictures on the web of Keser partying with Mogwai. Are the mighty 'Gwai fans of your or are they more like a big brother?
I don't know if they are fans but Barry has the album at least! I have met them at various gigs and know them a bit from that. The picture is from the ICA in London, they had just finished the last day of a 5 day residency. It was a great show and was attended by the likes of Alan McGee and legend Martin O' Neill. Martin gave them a pep talk in the dressing room before the show, I guess after that you have to play well!.
What records could you not live without?
There are far too many to list!
OK, Have you any thoughts on an album of the year yet or is it too early?
"Hmmm. Everyone else is pretty much screwed when Mogwai have a release! It has to be "Mr Beast"!
What is the best gig you have ever attended?
Cecil at The Works, Aberdeen in 1997. They became Voy, then disappeared!They were amazing so it's a shame.
The record is out now. So what is next for Keser?
Touring is next up, the focus will be abroad as well as the UK. The release date is still delayed for the shops, there will be launch gigs when it is announced as well. Then it's back to the studio for the next album.

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