Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Marco Mahler is aye okaye!


These days, one should be reluctant to pay heed to a singer-songwriter whose one sheet makes reference to time spent in pre-gentrified Williamsburg – oh, the cred! – or finds its sole photo of the artist looking contemplative, scruffy, disheveled. If I had a dollar...

But Marco Mahler is a pleasant surprise who should be immediately plucked from the seemingly endless horde of stubbled and bearded folkies who keep threatening to hush the world. Last June, Mahler self-released the record Design in Quick Rotation, an effort so beautiful and simple that not much since David Thomas Broughton's 2005 record can comparably stand up to it. There sounds to be little here but a voice, a guitar and a beat barely louder than a footstep, save for the plugged-in guitar on “Think Tank” or additional light percussion on “Study Airports,” which do nothing to speed things up further. The simplicity is divine, as anything additional would damage the soothing nature of the record, and even Mahler's voice, semi-deep, semi-talky, is nearly unnoticeable under all that graceful picking (the latter of which is at its best on instrumentals like “Otmar Elmer” and “Go Crocodile”).

Mahler reportedly found lyrical influence in his wife's poetry, and his lyrics are certainly more poems than stories, somewhat primitive in sound with an adult's understanding. But lyrics aren't the strongest point here, and there's nothing lovelier, listening to Design in Quick Rotation, than hearing Mahler's fingers pluck strings in syncopation with all those faux-footsteps. One to consider for your Best of 2007 lists, particularly if you're a fan of Multi-Panel, Bert Jansch, the Books or David Thomas Broughton.

Fun Fact: For those who don't care much for interpretation, Mahler's also in the habit of mentioning food in nearly every song. He may be a poet but he's also a man.

Marco Mahler - Go Crocodile
Purchase Design in Quick Rotation
Be a cheapskate and listen to the album on MySpace.

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