As the landscape of music is carved throughout time, the work born solely to contribute to that progression is something to be appreciated. With lyrical aspirations of Bob Dylan and a healthy admiration for the innovative guitar work of Bert Jansch, the contribution from acoustic singer / songwriter Marco Mahler is immense.
Born of Swiss heritage and living as a dual citizen in the United States and Switzerland, his international travels have given him a wide appreciation for music, ranging from traditional Irish folk to mainstream Hip Hop. This range shows through in the debut album, Design In Quick Rotation, which has been described as "music that captures the dawn of Sunday morning and embodies it through verse and song". Under each gentle melody, Mahler's whispery vocals seem to be offering access to a profound secret, creating a rare intimacy between artist and listener.
01. Design In Quick Rotation 3:44
Design in Quick Rotation breathes perspective, as Mahler crafted much of the album while working to revitalize a log cabin nestled in the Appalachian foothills. During this period in the scenic mountains, Mahler, for the first time, took on the roles of father and husband, and the album is charmed with that same sense of newness. The final inspiration for the record's completion, however, came when Mahler parted with the mountains of Virginia for the livelier pastures of Brooklyn. This contrast in location can be felt as a subtle undertone throughout the album. His creative release was fueled by nature, but the time in New York, a microcosm of art and culture, gave Mahler a strong desire to see his passion for music come to fruition.
The move north was more a coming home for Mahler, as several years of his past were spent submerged in the artistic atmosphere of a pre-gentrified Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. This period proved to be crucial in the development of his sound. His tendency of being an intense listener allowed him to fully absorb the music swirling around the area. Playing the New York City subways – mainly for the challenge of committing an indifferent crowd of commuters – gave Mahler confidence in his original material and enhanced his improvisational skills as a guitarist. It wasn't just music, however, that was influential in his development; reading the work of his wife, an accomplished poet, further broadened his horizons through her unique approach to written word.
In the end, the music has the feel of a dreamy lullaby. Yet, there was no carelessness in its creation, with every word holding strong value to each refined lyrical verse. There is an indefinable quality to it, landing somewhere in the realm of Sufjan Stevens, Belle and Sebastian, or Nick Drake, yet shying from the melancholic for a more upbeat rhythmic vibe. Design in Quick Rotation, the debut album from Marco Mahler, takes the singer / songwriter genre to a new place; an organically grown record that serves as the introduction to a brilliant musician.
Mahler's work has gotten airplay on The New York Times' radio station, WQXR, and earned praise from members of Pavement and The Silver Jews, as well as from Allen Ginsberg. Now that it's available to everyone via his site (as well as iTunes and many other online music source) more acclaim is sure to follow.