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Mark McDowell — Freedom Tapes
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2022-09-09

Freedom Tapes Cover art

On June 27, 2022 a new album by Mark McDowell hit the street. Building on the sonic pallet of his previous Dark Weave and Breakthrough albums, Freedom Tapes features eight songs and two instrumentals, ranging from pop psych to acid folk. The songs have a hypnotic cyclic nature and a common thread that weaves throughout the chord structure. Mark recorded simple trippy riffs jammed along with the basic tracks on the cassette recorder and then digitized for studio. He used a fresh experimental approach by stretching the cassette tapes to produce extreme tape flutter that added an analog warmth to his music. He completed Freedom Tapes over a two-week blitz of activity in January, which included a frozen battery-powered recording session. I am struck by the similarity of Mark’s new songs to the Soft Hearted Scientists and Nathan Hall, as well The Beatles. Mark’s strummed guitar on “Dazed” reminded me of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” and “Home to the Stars” made me think of “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Other musical references include Popol Vuh on “Zodiasi” and both Neu! and Harmonia on “Let it Burn.” Mark has a way of crafting trippy pop psych songs that engage the listener.  Check out Freedom Tapes, a nice breath of fresh aire.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Mark McDowell

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