With a prolific career that spans over two decades, Mark Pritchard has certainly ‘been there, done that’ – musically. The UK-born, Sydney-based producer’s credits not only cross genres, but in several cases, have inspired fresh directions within them. Between his time in iconic early-’90s groups like Global Communication, Jedi Knights, and Reload, plus an array of solo aliases including Harmonic 313 and Troubleman, the UK producer made ambient, electro, house, acid, instrumental hip-hop, and broken beat, among other styles and hybrids. ‘Under the Sun‘ is deeply atmospheric and richly impressionistic, largely ambient….and strictly not for the clubs.
Mark Pritchard – Under the Sun
“The idea of changing to my name [for Under The Sun] was to hopefully allow me to be able to release more stuff into the world without being confusing…….It’s kind of to let the music speak for itself.”
2010 was when I heard the track “?” under the name Mark Pritchard on a Balance compilation put together by Agoria. A beguiling six somber minutes of gelatinous, pitch-black drones and a doleful, harpsichord-like synth melody….6 years later it finds itself as the opening track for ‘Under the Sun’. For the most part, devoid of drums, ‘Under the Sun’ is loosely ambient in feel. Many of its tracks feel like soundtrack cues, and its blippy analogue palette often suggests the influence of Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. But the album’s most unusual aspect, and its unifying thread, are the thin, quavering synthesizer patches suggestive of flute and clarinet and recorder, which, playing quiet, contrapuntal melodies, imbue the album with an almost medieval air.
“From the mixing side of things I wanted to get away from the bright, loud, limited of mastering that’s happened over the years,” he says. “I was striving to make it sound like albums from the 60s and 70s and some 80s, with the gear I’ve got and the way I do things, [but] I didn’t want it to be a retro affair.”
Beautiful People ft. Thom Yorke
Under the Sun
Stand out tracks come from the few key vocal features, giving the album some shape and sense of movement. Especially Thom Yorke’s warm and woozy ‘Beautiful People’ vocals, processed almost beyond all recognition, singing through clenched teeth, his words reduced to something like pure tone.
Under the Sun is an easy album to disappear into.