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Marc Durkee – Remain In Stasis Award winner

Marc Durkee
Remain In Stasis
by Anton Sanatov at 29 January 2019, 3:27 PM

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

We all withdraw sometimes. Believe me when I say that it is only natural to dive too deep and lose yourself in the nether regions of your conscience, for that is where you find the well from whence the ink of being flows and individual matter boils – and a genesis of creation is always a sight to behold. Yes, we know how we should move within the outside world, and that place within may often send a personage slipping out of an established equilibrium, but it is always the viscera that paints the most exciting pieces, and the darkest inks that write the finest lines.

You may question my approach here – for let’s face it, that opening paragraph didn’t exactly make things clear. What I’m trying to say is that creating something highly personal is no simple feat, never mind sharing it with the world. Introspection is for the brave, and when it comes to music, one needs a truly strong stomach to dig deep into the paints of one’s psyche and turn into sound what otherwise might have remained in silence for eternity. Indie artist MARC DURKEE is certainly not shy when it comes to baring bones, for on his debut outing, the Nova-Scotian multi-instrumentalist embraces every corner of the darkest of dimensions – presumably his own – to create a fine-tuned, modern Rock masterpiece.

There is fortitude in this record; there is no doubt about that. It doesn’t necessarily come in the shape of a wrecking ball, but it nontheless breaks walls. Whilst “Remain In Stasis’” tonality may hint at melancholy, there is a constant dynamic presence in the fold of its backbone that snaps with the force and purpose of resolute entity. As the title suggests, this record is about maintaining composure whilst traversing the more uncertain plains of one’s personality, and this is demonstrated by the juxtaposition of biting Rock soundscapes and airy melodic strokes with acoustic undertones.

The album opens strong with a punchy Hard-Rock number “The Dark Dimension” which carries itself confidently with an off-beat rhythmic finesse and a levitating chorus that give this record an instant consolidating factor. The musicality on the album comes off as a confrontation of iron and water, a progressive dichotomy of strength and frailty that is often reminiscent of outfits like A PERFECT CIRCLE – particularly on the heavier tracks like “A Great Disdain”, the Post-Grunge fighter “Meteor” and my favourite “The Mind Flayer”, which combine thick, grungy riffs with gentle currents of smooth bass and delay-soaked single note plucking.

There is certainly a gravitas about this record - one that defies the often-trivial melancholy blunderings of such a production. For amidst the haunting harmonies and a grungy aftertaste, one can sense a songwriting maturity that can often be found on the likes of a MARK LANEGAN record. The strong acoustic guitar presence and vocal harmonies on tracks like “A Way to Escape”, “A Number of Years” and the cool, Folk-Blues offering “Not Without Sin” (perhaps a nod to CITY AND COLOUR) allow Marc’s lyrical genius to be complemented and appreciated in full as the singer-songwriter recites some truly gripping lines throughout this enterprise.

Another strong aspect of “Remain in Stasis” lies in its diversity. No two tracks are the same. And whilst on some occasions the expansive universe of this production may feel somewhat cluttered and overwhelming, the album remains an interesting listen with its amalgam of influences, and even at times likes to throw in a curveball like the Post-Punk tinted “Redesign” – a track that could’ve easily made it onto a PLACEBO record.

“Remain in Stasis” is also etched in precision. The production, whilst a touch over-compressed, is sharp and meticulously executed, allowing for Marc’s instrumental and vocal talents – which are truly remarkable – to be appreciated in full.

Overall – open up your mind and step inside. This is a solo record that is built upon the foundational intricacies of a human personality. It fells, communicates, rationalises…it empathises. With “Remain in Stasis” MARC DURKEE has taken one of the world’s most complicated articles and simply turned it into art.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. The Dark Dimension
  2. A Way to Escape
  3. Mimesis
  4. A Great Disdain
  5. Redesign
  6. The Mind Flayer
  7. A Number of Years
  8. Not Without Sin
  9. Meteor
  10. Stasis
Lineup:
All songs written, performed, produced, and mixed by Marc Durkee.
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 17 February 2019
 

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