ICYMI: Mark Peters (Engineers / Ulrich Schnauss) released solo debut ‘Innerland’
So much music comes out all year, and even with our daily new song roundups; weekly Notable Releases, Indie Basement, and Upcoming Metal Releases columns; and monthly playlist of songs we like, we still miss stuff. Now that we’re in the final month of 2018 and looking back on all the music that came out this year, we’ll be publishing a post every weekday in December that catches up on some music released this year that we feel we didn’t shine enough of a light on, or didn’t discuss at all. The music we’ll be highlighting wasn’t necessarily “overlooked” in any broader sense of the word, just cool stuff worth catching up on in case you missed it.
UK band Engineers have been going since 2003, making an ethereal, widescreen brand of shoegaze that garnered comparisons to Slowdive early in their career. The band’s song “Home,” from their great 2005 debut, was used as the theme song from HBO series Big Love, and acclaimed ambient artist Ulrich Schnauss joined the group in 2010. Engineers haven’t put out a record since 2014’s Always Returning, but if you’re jonesing for that style of dreamy ambience, guitarist/keyboardist Mark Peters released his debut solo album, Innerland, this year.
Originally a digital-only mini-LP Peters self-released in December 2017, Innerland got an official release on CD and vinyl, with two more songs to make it album length, via shoegaze/psych label Sonic Cathedral in April. The instrumental album doesn’t stray too far from what Peters does with Engineers (or on his two collaborative albums with Schnauss): cinematic dreampop that owes more than a little to Eno’s late ’70s ambient albums, krautrock band Harmonia (who Engineers have sampled), Talk Talk and the Durutti Column. It is ambient but engaging and melodic, with precise song structure and driving, grooving bass lines. The album tracks all have titles of places that have personal significance to Mark, as he told Rough Trade (who named the LP their #8 of 2018):
I sent Nat from Sonic Cathedral the tracks, and he said he’d like to release them, we met up in Liverpool and went for some Mexican food. I told him I’d always wanted to put out a record on which the tracks have geographical names that have personal biographical relevance. Nat was very enthusiastic and, together with designer Marc Jones, came up with the idea of paying homage to the classic Ordnance Survey maps of the ’60s and ’70s. Innerland was initially a tape only release, but when it came out on vinyl and CD earlier this year, each format was based on a different map design. It’s the perfect way of illustrating the psychogeographical references on the record in a simple, impactful way. Even though the places are real, the map on the cover is fictional, so the actual geography has become a little bit blurred and distorted, like a half-remembered past.
It’s a truly lovely record and you can stream the whole thing below.
If you’d like an even more chilled out version of Innerland, Rough Trade have an exclusive version of the LP titled Ambient Innerland that strips away all percussion. You can check that out via an album-length video, below.
Last year, Mark also released a cover of traditional Christmas hymn “Silent Night” that you can listen to below as well.
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Don’t miss a thing! Browse our ICYMI tag, being added to every day in December.