Marcus, Anthony - Distant Lands

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Power Diversified Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 19:02:00

This four track CDR from guitarist Anthony Marcus has a very thin sound, and that's due to the programmed drums. If you are a solo artist itching to get your music out there and don't want to wait until you find a drummer, programming them is the next logical step if you're good at programming. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with his programming, other than the drums sound programmed, in that clipped beat kind of way. There's just some resonate warmth from real drums that doesn't come through when programmed... an ambiance. I'm not a snob, it's just that... The residual feel from this album is cold, and what sticks with you is the drum programming. Their placement in the mix is too far up, drowning out what should be at the center, Marcus' sometimes fiery guitar playing (as in the solo on "Vertigo"). The warmth absent from the drums, and other programmed elements, I might add, is present in his guitar playing, though it sounds a bit strangled for part of "Vertigo"... a guitar-synth maybe?

Marcus gives four different views of himself - "Vertigo" is a funky piece. "Timeless" is a bit whimsical, light and airy, but plagued by the snickering percussion that leaps out of the mix. There is some nice synth-flute sounds here. Part of the arrangement sounds familiar to me... yet what it is remains elusive. A lot of help that was, huh? 80s synth pop... could be Duran Duran circa Rio that I'm thinking of; an instrumental.

Though the problems are not absent, the mix is better on "Cold Fusion." It certainly has a warmer feel that the previous two tracks. Here Jason Cluts guests on keyboards. This is synth based-electronica, that made me think of latter day Tangerine Dream, early Steve Roach, and many artists that appeared on the plethora of Astralwerks, Waveform, and Silent compilations that came out in the mid-90s... the From Here To Tranquility series for example. Now, I like that kind of stuff, and so I like this track... ah, just a tad more warmth would be welcome though.

The title track comes last, and it is a slowly evolving, somewhat otherworldly piece. Well, it is called "Distant Lands" and does have that "traveling" feeling that so much electronic-synth music has. Perfect for the visualization feature of Windows Media Player or the like, as all that's missing are fractal images formulating themselves as hues cycle through the color spectrum. The groove is a bit sultry and seductive.

Now whether this was a demo or an EP, I'm not sure. The press sheet doesn't say, though it's billed as his new album. And there's not much info on the Internet. It's not a bad release, as the arrangements are interesting and have variety. It's just strangely mixed and cold. I'd love to hear it again with a full band and a warmer mix. But, as a guitarist, be on the welcome look out for Anthony Marcus.

Incidently, Marcus was a nominee for "Best Instrumental Artist" in the 2004 International Online Music Awards

Vertigo (4:36) / Timeless (4:15) / Cold Fusion (5:00) / Distant Lands (5:51)

Anthony Marcus - guitars, sampling, sequencing, composing, arrangements
Jason M Cluts - keyboards (3)

Distant Lands (2004)
Offline (2008?)

Genre: Various Genres

Origin US

Added: February 27th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 566
Language: english


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