With his most recent release, Church, Mark de Clive-Lowe (@MdCL) raises the consciousness of his listeners to a higher plane. In the process, he is certain to have made quite a few new converts and reinforced his musical supremacy to the already indoctrinated.
On the album’s opening track, The Mission, de Clive-Lowe lulls our ears into a hypnotic trance with an upbeat Sunday drive-esque groove, before unexpectedly infusing it midway with a respectable rap verse supplied by John Robinson, who unintentionally reminds hip-hop heads of a slightly more mellow Talib Kweli. Robinson sets the tone for the remainder of the journey as he intones “spread love, music is life.”
From there, Church is an aural world tour, seemingly furnishing a subliminal bird’s eye view of some of the most remote destinations imaginable, using exotic instrumental sounds that defy traditional categorization. It’s jazz meets hip-hop meets techno meets transcendental meditation.
Another praiseworthy track, Now or Never, treats us to yet another unexpected vocal surprise as Nia Andrews makes our heads nod with her neo-soul styling that can aptly be described as intoxicating. Andrews’ voice also sends us blissfully traveling on Hollow, and teases us yet once more on the final track, Distractions, proving the perfect overlay onto Mark de Clive-Lowe’s smooth, eccentric instrumental foundation.
In between, we experience an assortment of horns, keys, strings, percussion, tribal chants and other surreal effects that cause us to lose almost all awareness of where one track ends and another begins. Instead, we are mesmerized by the collective body of work that has converged to make Church a rousing success. Church doesn’t preach. Instead, it paints a vivid yet subtle montage that leaves us with a lasting impression. That impression is left largely to the listener’s own interpretation, but it is an overwhelmingly favorable one.
To Mark de Clive-Lowe’s Church, we say a hearty Amen.
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Visit Mark online at MdCL.tv.