this was a daunting song to attempt. covering a King Crimson song is a pretty dangerous ground to be walking, so i decided to lead it into more of an orchestral Scott Walker style, although with a Mellotron orchestra. the contrast really gave me something i could work with, with the beautiful lyrics and melody really fitting perfectly into this setting.
some reviews have said the following about it:
“Even darker and more brutal than its predecessor, focusing on a descending pattern of Mellotron cello, loads of reverb, and haunting vocals, like a funereal version of the classic track.” Progulator (USA)
“Achingly rephrased, with an emotion-sapping widescreen grandeur, that freewheels between the spectral and the monastic.” The Sunday Experience (UK)
“As dreamy as it is ominous, sounding almost more ‘King Crimson’ than King Crimson themselves.” io Pages (The Netherlands)
here’s a season-appropriate song! the first time i heard Scott Walker, in around 2000, i couldn’t believe that someone could have such a huge voice. i heard ‘Big Louise‘ on a compilation album and i played it over and over, thinking “how is this possible?”. after that, i bought his first four albums and was really taken by them, especially ‘Scott 3‘, which i still haven’t really heard anything like (though i think David Sylvian‘s ‘Secrets Of The Beehive‘ is the album that comes the closest to this mood).
the original has a gorgeous orchestration, so of course my version had to be completely different. it ended up swinging a bit, which — even though i very seldom listen to jazz — is something that quite often happens in my music. i’m not entirely sure why, but it always gives me the chance to croon, so… well, that’s probably why!
the explosion in the middle of the song was quite unexpected and really gave the chords a new twist, actually making them sound quite evil. i love those little surprises!
“You watch the leaves, as they shiver your loneliness
Your eyes are lanterns growing dim
I hum inside, like the meadows in summer
But I’ll never light them up again”
‘Mellowing Grey‘ is one of Family‘s most beautiful songs, from their masterpiece album, ‘Music In A Doll’s House‘. in fact, it’s one of the most beautiful songs of its time. this one always stood out, with its magical atmosphere and gorgeous Mellotron arrangement.
for my version, i wanted to base it around the piano, accompanied by some soft, mallet drums and double-tracked bass (one on the left and one on the right). almost like it was a jazz trio in a David Lynch film, with the occasional explosion of fuzz bass and Mellotron choir, all the while wrapped in velvet.
some beautifully psychedelic lyrics as well:
“Mellowing grey, in misty morning’s day
My thoughts turn to you, kingfisher blue
Loveliness born, in velvet shades of dawn
Joy from your eyes, soft summer skies”
i’ve been a huge fan of Crosby, Stills & Nash since i was very young. the way their voices blend together has been sending shivers down my spine for longer than i can remember. i was lucky to see them at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago, in which i was treated to three hours of some of the finest songs of all time. an amazing evening!
i chose this song because it has such a haunting quality to it — a real longing, that i can relate to in some of my own songs. after stripping it down, i found that the lyrics really stood out in a new way — they’re actually a lot more delicate than i realised. to compliment this, i recorded some mellow fingerpicked acoustic guitars, sang it very gently (almost whispering in places), then added a soft layer of pedal steel guitar over the top.
all in all, it’s a beautiful song with a beautiful message, and probably the best use of alliteration i’ve ever heard.
“Stand by the stairway,
you’ll see something certain to tell you,
confusion has its cost.
Love isn’t lying,
it’s loose in a lady who lingers,
saying she is lost.
And choking on hello”
My new EP, ‘Suspended In A Weightless Wind‘, is released today!
Thank you so much to everyone who’s already bought the CD — there are only a few copies left now & there won’t be any more printed. If you’d like one of the last copies, signed & hand-numbered, please click here.
I thought it’d be nice to write about the songs, one every week, explaining why i chose them & why i arranged them the way i did. I’ll start that next week. Be prepared, though — i may ramble on a bit here & there.
After four albums with The Autumn Ghost, I’m about to unleash my first solo release! It’s a five-song EP of covers, called ‘Suspended In A Weightless Wind‘, and will be released on the 30th of September. There will only be 100 CDs printed, all of which I’ll hand-number and sign. Pre-orders will begin soon.
As a taster, here’s the first song from the EP — ‘Things Behind The Sun‘, written by Nick Drake.
Thank you to Mark Barton, editor of the legendary publication Losing Today, for this very poetic preview:
“One of the most mercurial moments from Drake’s preciously limited catalogue, ’Things Behind The Sun’, as reworked by Marsh, is shimmered to the sweet allure of whispering strings, by way of accentuating and magnifying its bittersweet opine. Marsh adeptly hones in on that sense of quiet euphoria, stolen in faraway introspective detachment. Where Drake sours the sweetness in winter-lined reflection, Marsh wraps it warmly, investing a grounded majesty to the workbook; bathing and un-tethering the textures, in a vividly-lush panoramic framing, that adds rather than detracts, one suspects, to Drake’s intended aural vision.”
Just put together a collection of review snippets for the latest album. Some incredible words. Thank you so much to all who have listened to & written about it!
“Marsh invokes Scandinavian melancholy & the spirit of the 70s” Prog Magazine (England)
“Marsh’s strongest release to date, which captures the band’s outstanding synergy” Norway Rock Magazine (Norway)
“The album shifts between fragility & beauty to passionate intensity. The blend of these elements, particularly as the performances unfold, is hypnotic & powerful” Sea Of Tranquility (USA)
“Somewhere between dreamy, spacey art-rock & prog from the King Crimson school” Babyblaue Seiten (Germany)
“Improvisation at its best, surrounded by drama & noir elements” Rockway (Greece)
“All the components are correctly balanced — the delicate set against the boisterous, the cautious against the hazardous, the calculated against nature’s glorious orchestrated chaos” Scream Magazine (Norway)
“Hallowed & mellow vibes, with intentionally-adept heavy nuances & atmospheric moodiness, which engulf the record with a raw emotion that lies beneath the surface” Ytsejam (USA)
“A beautiful album that exudes a warm, intimate glow” iO Pages (Netherlands)
“The music of Marsh & his Autumn Ghost twists its shape, but what we have in return is a substance more vivid than ever” Storia Della Musica (Italy)
“Perfect for quiet evenings, when the darkness is broken only by the sounds from the speakers” Power Metal (Germany)
“A magical journey, which alternates between ethereal atmospheres & more edgy passages, verging on psychedelic jazz” Music Waves (France)
“Right from the start, it becomes apparent that this is going to be a thrilling ride” Dutch Progressive Rock Page (Netherlands)