Perched on the brink of renown, Kiev outfit Marakesh are now announcing the release of their brand new album, "M." It's available for free download, paradoxically before being released on CD. Its 39-minute running time is designed to give voice to the band's cherished themes of "sex, glam, rock, pop, and electronica... together with the power of now. And love, too."
The group's first album - "Androgyny" - appeared in 2006, but was sold only in Ukraine; a year later they produced a mini-album, "Valentine's Day" (Den' Sviatogo Valentina), and that was marketed only in Russia.
This second full-length recording should hopefully stop the flip-flopping between two markets, especially because in 2008 the ensemble was nominated for the category of "Best New Group" at the annual award ceremony of respected rock magazine, Fuzz. The publication's readership extends across both countries.
For a free download, especially when we consider the age and relative inexperience of Marakesh, this is a remarkably accomplished recording. It provides one more reason for assuming that primetime success could be near. The floppy-fringed masses above seem to agree.
Embracing the emo-inspired realms of modern Russian pop, Marakesh have managed in a very short time to fashion a sound that could confidently sit beside most major bands on Russian airwaves.
The ensemble happily list their major influences en route to the nation's IPods: Placebo, The Cure, Beck, Oasis, and Aphex Twin. The first two of these sources of inspiration sound the loudest, together with both bands' evident fondness for mascara. This theatrical streak, especially in the appearance of lead singer Mark, works towards the visual expression of what Marakesh call "androgyny-rock. It's both musically sexless and emotionally overloaded."
As if that wasn't sufficiently dramatic, the band happily crank up up the pathos further still: "Marakesh are a brutally sincere, and tragically vulnerable ensemble." Tissues all round, because there's more: "Diving into their music, you'll find both beautiful and ugly revelations of young androgyny. Addiction is guaranteed from the first song, so beware!"
Diving into their music, you'll find both beautiful and ugly revelations of young androgyny. Addiction is guaranteed from the first song, so beware!
This is the kind of copy that's tailor-made for youth magazines.
This new album originally had five other titles, each of which was eventually rejected. The ultimate decision - "M" - was reached by one of the band members when it came to them in a dream(!).
"It suited the recording perfectly. The thing is that 'M' refers to nothing specifically and yet, at the same time, it has loads of possible meanings." One can see another overlap here with the role of androgyny in the band's rasion d'etre - as part of a general desire to sidestep all manner of categorizations. (It seems very possible, however, that "M" refers to a track from The Cure's "Seventeen Seconds").
The most restrictive of all these limits has been the music business; despite their existence on the periphery of big-time wheeling and dealing, the band has nonetheless already had a taste of fiscal nastiness.
When asked why the LP has been released online, they reply: "Even while we were recording it, several record companies approached us and said they wanted to release it. We took the bait, driven by our ambition, and chose the biggest one. As a result, we faced a long and painful struggle to break free..."
"Due to those problems, the release date was constantly postponed - and there was nothing we could do about it. Therefore we decided to publish the songs free of charge. It was a way of expressing our gratitude to the fans; they'd waited so long, but their support never lessened."
Due to those problems, the release date was constantly postponed - and there was nothing we could do about it. Therefore we decided to publish the songs free of charge. It was a way of expressing our gratitude to the fans; they'd waited so long, but their support never lessened.
When the same recordings do appear on disk in the future, they'll be accompanied by all kinds of bonus goodies, such as a documentary film about the studio work. In the meanwhile, download the 11 songs for zero pennies, turn up the volume, and head for the eye-shadow. A bathroom mirror awaits.
And - for those who find this kind of callow wailing difficult to stomach, there's even a site for people who hate the band...