YOUNG MARCO - Nonono (Front Cover)
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Review:
The underground music scene is full of unheralded talent - people and labels whose significant contribution to a sound or style often goes overlooked. Amsterdam-based Marco Sterk could well be one of those people. A graphic designer by trade, he is responsible for the distinctive look and feel of Rush Hour's many releases. But that's not all. He's also the man behind the stop-start Hand Of God label, an imprint whose sporadic releases gainfully attempt to join the dots between classic and contemporary house, leftfield disco and, on occasions, Italo. Here, he joins forces with the similarly overlooked ESP Institute label. Like Sterk's own Hand of God imprint, ESP Institute operates at the margins, delivering music that doesn't quite fit into neat categories. The two tracks showcased here are typical of both Sterk and ESP Institute's approach. Lead cut "Nonono" seems to exist somewhere in the margins; some elements sound like Stereolab, others Larry Heard after a fistful of downers. "Darwin", on the other hand, could definitely be described as "Balearic". Featuring relentless, hypnotic melodies and marimba-ish riffs alongside nagging, stripped-back percussion, it sounds like a skewed take on the classic works of Steve Reich. With darting, soft focus synths and an undulating groove, it's both mesmeric and enchanting. To these ears, it almost sounds like a contemporary answer to Chris Carter's beguiling "Moonlight", itself re-released last year by Optimo Music. Given the quality of these two tracks, it's likely we'll hear more from Young Marco over the next few years.

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