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All Music Guide:
Marconi Union is the name of the enigmatic Manchester, England, duo signed in 2005 to All Saints Records and appointed by Brian Eno to supervise the remastering of his back catalog. In 2003, their self-produced debut album, Under Wire and Searchlights, was issued on Ochre Records, and was followed with the All Saints release Distance, which came out in Europe in October 2005, and then in the U.S. in February of the next year.
Marconi Union are a British musical trio consisting of Richard Talbot, Jamie Crossley and Duncan Meadows.
Marconi Union formed in 2002 when Talbot and Crossley met while working in a record shop. Their self-produced debut album, Under Wires and Searchlights, appeared in 2003 on the small British independent label Ochre Records. The album was followed with a sustained period of silence only punctuated by a couple of remixes. They were then picked up in 2005 by All Saints Records (a label strongly associated with electronic musician Brian Eno) releasing their second album, Distance, which featured a darker, more electronic sound. The band played at the 2006 Big Chill Festival and Eden Sessions and granted their first interview in October 2006 for the widely syndicated American radio show Echoes, where they also played only their second live performance. Their tracks have also appeared on several compilations albums, and they have done a number of remixes for other artists. Recording for their third album, A Lost Connection, began in 2007. Originally slated for release on All Saints, the band became victims of a label take over by Warner Bros and a number of contractual complications arose. Frustrated by the delays and now with apparently two full length albums recorded and awaiting release, Talbot and Crossley decided to take matters into their own hands and utilize web technology. In July 2008 they launched their digital label MU Transmissions which started to sell their music via their own website, with the first release being the long awaited A Lost Connection. 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 had joined on a permanent basis having previously played with them at a number of live gigs.
On 1st October 2010, Marconi Union performed a 150 minute set of improvised soundscapes within Manchester's City Art Gallery. This was done as an accompniament for people attending the 'Recorders' exhibition by Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. The Marconi union trio's participation in the evening involved the three playing a very organic ambient set in a large glass atrium which people passed through on the way to the exhibition, the idea being that some people may have chosen to stop and listen for a while others would simply pass by.
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 met with critical acclaim.
Following the release of Weightless, Marconi Union retreated into self-imposed silence and declined all but a handful of interviews, preferring to focus on recording their next album, 2012's Different Colours was also the first release to feature Duncan Meadows. As with previous records it differed in approach to its predecessor. This time, the focus was on creating more tightly structured arrangements assimilating ideas from jazz and soundtrack composers like Bernard Herrmann to produce a "more soulful sound". "Different Colours" immediately achieved greater commercial success than their previous releases while still receiving great 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 an event curated by Brian Eno. Rather than perform a regular set they performed two live remixes.
On October 16, 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".