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Magik Markers – 2020 (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Magik Markers – 2020 (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 00:42:05 minutes | 812 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Drag City Records

Here we are in 2020, exploding like a dream. Processing today’s numbed nation, considering mysteries of growing up and being older (like a memory of the future from your youth (not how you expected, but still your life)), Magik Markers rub upon their roots, art-noise jamming their way into non-linear song-sense and raw, beautiful music all at once.

Magik Markers began with an explosion of noisy improvisational rock in the 2000s and then, like a comet, resurfaced occasionally with a long tail of works that gradually refined their music. As the years between releases grew, so did the band’s ability to combine their established and newfound skills in ways that sounded fresh and timeless. This is especially true of 2020, an album that took four years to make and appeared seven years after Surrender to the Fantasy. Though it ignores the trends that sprang up during Magik Markers’ absence, its mix of delicate folk-pop, clattering rock, and droning experimental pieces captures the fragmented and challenging feel of its namesake year. The band give their audience a concentrated dose of what they’ve been missing with 2020’s opening track, “Surf’s Up.” Beginning as a winding piano ballad with a gentle message to buck conformity, it swells into hallucinatory swaths of discordant piano and atonal guitar that give a ragged poignancy to its eight-minute sweep. There’s a wish to return to a more intuitive, if not necessarily simpler, time throughout 2020: On the dark gallop of “Find You Ride,” Elisa Ambrogio sings about making a sound “that existed before there were mouths…before there were ears,” while “That Dream (Shitty Beach)”‘s lumbering Sabbath groove feels primordial and eternal before its inevitable collapse. Magik Markers convey this feeling with some of their most cleanly recorded and eclectic songs. “You Can Find Me”‘s brashly tuneful guitar pop is an unexpected highlight, with joyously crashing choruses that express the desire to hold on to a perfect moment forever. Though the band never sounded like this back in the day, the song sits well next to the largely wordless invocation “Hymn for 2020” and “CDROM,” where Ambrogio riffs on politics and astrology over a sprawl that’s just as hypnotic as their early work. As on Surrender to the Fantasy, the open emotions in 2020’s songwriting join its pieces with mosaic-like cohesion. In particular, Ambrogio brings a lived-in richness to her vocals and lyrics on the album’s ballads. On “Born Dead,” she connects the most intimate statements (“I was born dead/until I met you”) with grand ones (“I believe the whole of the Western world might fall at your feet”) with the circling layers of her voice, and closes the album with the acoustic wildflower beauty of “Quarry (If You Dive).” A bracing return to an indie world that was more predictable without them, on 2020 Magik Markers don’t just reflect the chaos of a year that felt more dystopian with each passing month; they make the most of the opportunity that difficult times provide to start fresh while honoring time-tested strengths. – Heather Phares

1. Surf’s Up (08:15)
2. Find You Ride (04:01)
3. That Dream (Shitty Beach) (05:51)
4. Born Dead (03:36)
5. You Can Find Me (03:05)
6. Hymn for 2020 (04:11)
7. Swole Sad Tic (00:43)
8. CDROM (07:30)
9. Quarry (If You Dive) (04:56)


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