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A review of...
Innerland by Mark Peters
After releasing Innerland as a limited edition tape (which instantly sold out) in 2017, ex- Engineers man Mark Peters has "relandscaped" it into a full album featuring two brand new tracks "Gabriel’s Ladder" and "May Mill". All of the tracks on the record are named after places and landmarks in Peters' native North West and the album as a whole is themed around the industrial heritage of the area. The resulting collection is predominantly ambient but with pulsing beats, occasionally reaching electric levels of motoric euphoria. Some listeners may be reminded of fellow Sonic Cathedral ambient maestros, XAM Duo, but Peters' vision is more guitar driven and tracks like "Ashurst's Beacon" channel the cosmic space-rock jams of Spiritualized. This certainly isn't a record that you could drift away and fall asleep to, and on "Windy Arbour", Peters throws in an electro rhythm section and some bluesy harmonica to add an extra curve-ball for anyone who's trying to put this music into a particular genre (like I just did).
Of the new material appearing here, "May Mill" is probably the most guitar driven song on the record, and the only time where Peters seems to be showing off a bit (in a good way) with clean cut licks paving the way for a crunching finale. "Gabriel's Ladder" is perhaps the exact opposite, washing over you like cool waves of soothing minimalism. However, the highlight of the record for me is "Shaley Brow", which is good, until the piano drop, at which point it becomes a sad, sad masterpiece. Here, Peters gradually brings in more and more instrumentation, the only constant being some beautifully rendered, backwards atmospherics sitting in the background. Tellingly, at first i didn't notice the backwards trickery, and the track as a whole sounds like some sort of neo-classical piece. Wonderful stuff.
I didn't hear the original version of this release so I, for one, am thankful to Mark Peters for "relandscaping" it and hopefully bringing it to a wider audience.