Coming all the way from London, England to the Red Room Ultra Bar last Saturday were the world renowned jack of all trades artists, Blu Mar Ten. Consisting of three members, Leo Wyndham, Chris Marigold and Michael Tognarelli, they have a history dating back to the mid-nineties that spans into and alongside a long list of genres while also running a label (Blu Mar Ten Music or BMTM). Though Chris was the only member who ran the decks for Blu Mar Tens slot last Saturday, he was still able to provide the club with a substantial representation of the group and their clear and elegant sound. To producers who manage to stay relevant on the scene such as they have, it is a noteworthy achievement to have tracks with an emotional artistry to it, therefore keeping them relevant long term and increasing their shelf life.
“I think if we contribute anything it’s the maintenance of melody and harmony in a niche of music that can often be very monotone and overly focused on technique,” Chris recently told an interviewer from UK based KMAG, “Music like drum & bass can be (and often is) dismissed as ‘just dance music’, as being necessarily simplistic or functional, but we still believe that even the most starkly technological music is capable of delivering moments of incredible elegance, pathos or beauty.” Clearly these words were spoken by someone who understands thoroughly the ins and outs of their industry.
With an atmospheric essence throughout they have graced the scenes of more than just drum and bass into techno, breakbeat, house and electronica. On Saturday Chris was pumping out tunes mostly siding with drum and bass, a style they have recently returned to, but audible were certainly heavy influences from the other scenes they have dabbled in. Transitionally you can feel the intentional breathing room he leaves you between the deep and reverberated bass lines and his subtlety leaves a nice, silky finish.
Throughout the evening when asking individuals attending about their standpoint on the music, I heard very warm and appreciative reactions. Someone in front of me during his set announced that “Blu Mar Ten is a legend”, and with a steady album releasing no more than 4 years apart since 2000, that might be a fair statement. Keep in mind this was not one of those shows (and there have been) where the audience was ripping their hair out and screaming at the top of their lungs, but rather during track changeovers you would catch them clapping and whistling in appreciation, not unlike how you would treat a well-composed jazz session. I believe this is the type of response Chris is grateful for as he says it’s amazing to travel to areas outside of the UK and see such support for and knowledge of their style of music.
The turnout for the evening was satisfying as there was a full dance floor, yet I wasn’t constantly getting bumped into or spending ten minutes waiting for a drink at the bar. I consider that a good balance. Also, Red Room continues to impress me with sound, and having this as the first time hearing their new PK Sound set up is the best yet. PK Sound audio provided a clarity and deepness to the music that would have been missed without it. The set up for visuals is also improving, and I was enjoying the cool artwork they chose to display throughout the show.
Kir Mokum opened with a set immediately before Blu Mar Ten and previous Carpe Noctem and Kid Kurse performed somewhat back to back. Typically you’ll find that a crowd will pay little mind to openers for a big name headliner, but I believe the style and speed of their tracks were so well considered that it set the mood for the entire evening. Great work to all of them; it feels good to see so much hype arise for local, talented producers preceding such a big, foreign main act. Good on Digital Motion for an excellent line-up and generally successful evening.
Written by Jaclyn Adair