It would seem that Heaven In The Dark Earth (God Unknown), the debut album from London innovators Markers, has been coming for an age. Having known each other for twenty years around the early Math Rock scene, Jason Carty and Jodie Cox have finally unified to produce this rhythmless, adventurous melding of atmospheres and strings.
Opening track ‘Fountain’ is a moving, cosmic journey with pedal effects turning guitars into keyboards, gongs and meteor strikes. This far too brief moment in time leads towards ‘In Amber’, a work of staggering gorgeousness where Countryesque chords imitate vocals and create a structure one could suggest as Classical Doom. The sparing, mellow tones are at once heartbreaking and sensual, a stocking and thong of the dead lover hanging on the bedposts as torturous mementos of life in its purest form.
‘Skvala’ is another brief interlude of haunting soundscapes, the contrast of rumbling bass strings and cooing melody laying the path for the resonant Folk bedrock of ‘Marine Parlance’, which at times appears to literally imitate whalesong. The slowly skipping riff is both melancholic and stirring, a soundtrack to a leisurely flit through the colours of a tropical ocean, the later sense of drama evoking the presence of the underwater hunter.
It’s so remarkable for two similar instruments to create discernible differences within each song. ‘Civil Twilight’ is a bass-heavy grumble suggesting a certain gravity and seems a fitting announcement of the arrival of many different, usually unsociable species at the evening watering hole. ‘Snoqualmie’, whilst carrying a similar thread, is a lighter yet mournful pitch, carrying weight yet so much more subtlety than the falls giving their name to this chilling track.
‘Haar’ is the last of the interludes, the swirling sound of a harsh winter rattling the shack doors off their hinges and leading into closer ‘Muisca’: a tribute to an ancient Colombian civilisation, a track governed by the sad, sparse yet bizarrely uplifting melodies that characterise this incredibly affecting album. It’s impossible to find superlatives to do enough justice to Markers: for the confidence required to take this kind of risk, and for the ability to create a piece of such shattering beauty. Heaven In The Dark Earth may be music to suit a particular mood but one thing is for sure: you won’t have heard anything as marvellous, as special as this.
9 / 10