Boomkat Product Review:
We've spent so long in the company of this magical album it's impossible to express our deep, unending love for it. Small and perfectly formed, 'Metanarrative' explores Mark Stewart's experiments with midnight techno variants, utilising a stylistic reduction that looks for warmth and detail in every nook and cranny. Of course, over the last couple of years Stewart has been best known for his 'Warehouse Sessions', a series of stripped twelves that make use of an astute line in reduction and a love of sonorous basslines to develop a sound best noted for its devastating production and frayed dub sequences. Metanarrative is a different beast altogether, built around 8 tracks that provide the backbone and emotive arc for the grand narrative alluded to in the title. Gone are the uncompromising percussive arrangements of the Warehouse Sessions, and instead the sound explores a more melodic, quietly euphoric display of opposites : sweet melodies and heavily padded bass frequencies, introspective conceits and propulsive percussion, and populist arrangements built with a deviant sound palette. Opening track "Operation" sums this process up perfectly, the arrangement building around a succession of chord progressions and shuffling percussion that develop sweet tension and momentum without ever breaking into the obvious - the breakdown just never comes. "Harsh Reality" tugs more openly at the heartstrings with an intro that gives you every reason to believe that what's to follow might be the most readily commercial material from this artist yet, but the eventual bassline inverts expectations and delivers something both moving and exhilarating, perhaps the most elusive and prized combination of all in music making. By the time the album ends with "Beautiful Death" a mere 40 minutes later, all that's left is a weathered bass pulse and long forgotten memories that urge you to return to those halcyon days, full of movement and life, all the way back on track one. Metanarrative is a compelling album, somehow f*cked up and life affirming all at once, with a glamorous, throbbing mass at its heart. ESSENTIAL PURCHASE!