credit: Nina Østergård Johansen

Marsmachine, aka Marcus Gyldenløve Kyed, caught our ear at the beginning of last year with the release of his summoning single “Humanecho”. We hoped there would be more to come, and now there finally is: his debut EP “Instructions” came out on 7. October. 

This is not just any EP. This is a piece of electronic art with five tracks of even more summoning energy that you just cannot escape. From the opener “Gate Closing”, the sounds Marsmachine creates trap you in an instant. It is the kind of dark hygge that we know from Depeche Mode, Trentemøller, Slowdive and more, which can be so addictive.

My personal favourite “Y.EAR” is much more danceable than other tracks. I first listened to it on the bus on my way home, and I had a hard time keeping my body still with this one. It may not immediately appear as a club track, but I dare you to get involved with it. Imagine a dark space with mysterious lights and these sounds played through huge speakers. Heavenly. Every time “Y.EAR” ends, I wish it would go on for another five minutes. “EP4” goes into a similar direction but explores various soundscapes along the way: building suspense, then turning quiet and giving room to cryptic vocal bits, just to implode into vast spaces again. 

This whole EP sounds thematically organic and coherent, but the production of “Instructions” was not an easy one: Marsmachine’s debut was bound to be ready in end of 2018, but the author was not happy with it. He had become entangled in the ‘instructions’ music nowadays seems to have: a typical melodic song structure including vocals, focusing on what streaming services would playlist, a clear concept that could easily be grasped by skipping through the tracks. He made the brave decision to give a big “fuck you” to these norms and start all over again.

I’ve made “nothing” the whole turning point of this EP. How can I create a collective work where just that is the keyword?” Marcus elaborates.

So what is “nothing”? In this case, it could mean the absence of rules. Marcus freed himself from all the expectations and instructions (hence the EP name) implied on modern music. No clear vocals, no coherent melodies. Nothing, none of that. 

“For example, if you listen to ‘Time’, you’ll hear the big pads, the obscure vocal samples, a lot of emotion and air. But where’s the beat? I cannot dance to this one? There are no vocals, so I can’t sing along to it? It doesn’t follow the rules or the Instructions that music normally should – therefore, is it anything at all? None of the tracks follow the instructions, but they do what they should if you ask Marsmachine: they make you feel something,” he explains.

Indeed, they do. Even without the initial concentration on a certain theme, “Instructions” turned out with a very recognisable soundscape. It makes you travel through different emotions and areas of consciousness, but tinted with a distinct dark feel. Marsmachine’s debut EP is not just music, it is, as I initially stated, electronic art. 

“I’ve produced a couple of brilliant tracks,” he continues. “Have I fulfilled the“requirements” of a hit? Probably not, but I’ve made some music which I’m indescribably proud of.” 

Agreed, Marsmachine’s music may not top mainstream playlists yet, but I deem that a very good thing. It is not music for everyone. So what? It is not music you can just play in the background without getting immersed in it. But exactly that makes it special: Marsmachine’s sounds make you feel something. And that definitely puts him on top of my personal playlist.

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