Coming from a UK dance production duo who were previously known for their drum 'n' bass tunes, Blu Mar Ten's eclectic chillout masterpiece The Six Million Names Of God (2003) is an unexpected and deeply trippy shot out of the, well, blue. Describing an album as being like a movie in your head is hardly an original way of talking about music, but it really does apply here.
Blu Mar Ten
country of origin:
Atmospheric drum 'n' bass, trip hop, chillout, lounge, house
90's - 20's
- Producer 03 (2002, Good Looking Records)
- The Six Million Names Of God (2003, Exceptional)
- Black Water (2007, Exceptional)
Reviewed by Mike G
Coming from a UK dance production duo (Chris Marigold and Leo Wyndham) who were previously known for their drum 'n' bass tunes, Blu Mar Ten's eclectic chillout masterpiece The Six Million Names Of God (2003) is an unexpected and deeply trippy shot out of the, well, blue. Describing an album as being like a movie in your head is hardly an original way of talking about music, but it really does apply here.
It's also the duo's first "official" album. They used to release singles in the the 1990's on LTJ Bukem's label Good Looking Records, the all-conquering drum 'n' bass label which subsequently angered the duo by releasing a best-of called Producer 03 (2002) without their permission and thus sparking a messy legal separation. Too bad, because that album is a gorgeous atmospheric genre record and is well worth seeking out.
The Six Million Names Of God is altogether different, however, and what a wondrous and mysterious thing it is. Sounds range from the folksy Latin-flavoured guitar of the opening track "Home Videos" to deeply textured ambient pop landscapes, crisp beats, Eastern drones and weird cinematic interludes. It moves along like a surreal book or movie: you know it's good, you just don't quite know what it's all about. Take the "The Date" for instance. It's awash with gorgeously subtle keys, orchestral washes, saxophone and a dreamy, disembodied female vocal. It captures the album's richly melodic essence, yet you couldn't call it typical because no one track here sounds like any of the others. The album is a seamless experience, generally mellow and packed with detail. There's no line here between the acoustic and electronic worlds: it has disappeared completely.
Blu Mar Ten also released another eclectic long player Black Water (2007), this time with more house and breakbeat flavours but overall boasting a sizable quotient of beautiful, atmospheric instrumentals. It's a very good album, only suffering perhaps by comparison to its predecessor because it shares none of its flowing, narrative power. Since then, it's been back to drum 'n' bass territory, and good luck to them. Whatever they do in the future, The Six Million Names Of God will remain one of dance music's most compelling downtempo releases.