Marconi Union Biography
Marconi Union are a UK band formed sometime around 2002 when Talbot and Crossley met while working in a Manchester record shop. They have a reputation for being somewhat elusive as they frequently refuse interview requests and show little interest in promoting themselves despite having attracted considerable critical acclaim. Their self-produced debut album, Under Wires and Searchlights, appeared in 2003 on the English independent label Ochre Records. Shortly after, they were then picked up by All Saints Records (a label strongly associated with electronic musician Brian Eno). In 2005, they released Distance, which featured a darker, more electronic sound.
Recording for their third album, A Lost Connection, began in 2007. Originally slated for release on All Saints, the band became victims of label politics following a Warner Bros takeover. Frustrated by the delays and with two full-length albums recorded and awaiting release, Talbot and Crossley launched their digital label MU Transmissions which started to sell their music via their own website.
In 2009 the Marconi Union website released a new album, Tokyo on the German Binemusic label. According to press releases and reviews Tokyo was inspired by media images of the city.
In 2010, A Lost Connection was remastered and finally released on CD, and the band announced that Duncan Meadows their live keyboardist had joined on a permanent basis.
In July 2011, a new album, Beautifully Falling Apart (Ambient Transmissions Vol:1) was released on Just Music. Musically this proved to be a diversion from previous releases being largely beatless and with a greater emphasis on texture. Despite this move away from the more commercial aspects of their earlier work it once again met with considerable critical acclaim.
Different Colours (the first release to feature Duncan Meadows) once again differed in approach and sound from its predecessors. This time, the focus was on tightly structured arrangements, assimilating ideas from jazz and soundtrack composers like Bernard Herrmann with the intention of producing a "more soulful sound". "Different Colours" achieved greater commercial success than their previous releases while once again receiving critical acclaim, it featured in many best of the year lists and was Echoes CD of the month.
In September 2012, Marconi Union appeared at the annual Punkt! Festival in Kristiansand, Norway, at the invitation of Brian Eno. Rather than play live they performed two live remixes, one of Cyclobe and the other of S.C.U.M.
Over a period of two years, predating the arrival of Duncan Meadows, Talbot and Crossley also collaborated with Jah Wobble; the results being released as the album Anomic on 30 Hertz records in June 2013.
On 16 October 2011, Marconi Union created an eight-minute track, titled "Weightless", in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy.
According to scientists at the Mindlab institution (a commercial 'neuromarketing' company) it induced a 65% reduction in overall anxiety and brought test subjects' resting pulse rates to 35% of their usual resting rates. The song features guitar, piano and manipulated field recordings. It is punctuated throughout by low tones that supposedly induce a trance-like state. This piece propelled the band into the media spotlight and news reports, and was reported in newspapers worldwide.
In November 2011, Marconi Union were featured in Time magazine's list of Inventors of the Year, for writing and recording "Weightless". "Weightless" has been streamed more than twenty-three million times from Spotify alone, while various YouTube videos have been viewed millions of times making Weightless one of the most well known ambient tracks ever. In January 2017 it charted in the Billboard charts. Despite this, Marconi Union have consistently refused to be drawn into any debate about the scientific findings, preferring to discuss "Weightless" in purely aesthetic terms.