MUSIC FROM CYCLES OF SPHERES
As reviewed by Bert Strolenberg in KLEM Magazine, The Netherlands:
This album is actually a rebuilt version of the "Deep Spaces" album that space and planetarium composer Mark Mercury had in the works for quite a while. Now it is being used for the identically-titled art exhibition of Mary Edna Fraser, carrying the subtitle "Mapping the Planets in Silk and Sound."
The album immediately gives an overall cinematic feel with its soft, symphonic-oriented electronic music with parts that are even somewhat orchestral. It offers many perspectives, ranging from traditional space to almost fairy-tale-like music, even bringing the film "The Never-Ending Story" to mind. In three long tracks of 13, 28, and 13 minutes, Mark is a masterful and talented conductor of synths, spreading ongoing rich tapestries of sounds with very nice nuances. The closing track, "Deep Spaces," is a little more restless, but is still satisfying enough in the end.
THE ART OF SPACE
As reviewed by Paul Rijkens of Groove Unlimited:
For me, Mark Mercury is a new name, but this American already has quite a long career in composing and making music.
This CD originates from 1996. The eighteen tracks on the album can best be described as "symphonic space music." Some of the tracks are accompanied by spoken (space) poetry, read by Richard Gould and Charmaine Blakely Budaska. For instance, a piece like "12 Stations From Gemini" with a poem by John Fairfax, contains rather intense orchestral space music with references to masters like Wendy Carlos, Isao Tomita, Amin Bhatia (remember his genius "Interstellar Suite"?) and Tim Clark ("Invisible Universe Suite"). Also, traces of ambient are present as in "The Sirens" and "The Sirens Reprise," which sound like the best works of Michael Stearns. "Evanescence," "Andante" and "Adagio," in my opinion, are the best pieces on the album.
These innovative tracks really lead you into the center of the galaxy. Brilliant! After listening to this exiting CD I wonder why I haven't heard it earlier. I think Mercury reflects the art of space.
MUSIC OF THE DOMES
As reviewed by Bert Strolenberg of KLEM Magazine, The Netherlands:
Mark Mercury is an American composer of electronic music with a strong cinematic feel. The music on this CD is actually real planetarium music, split into five long tracks. Listening to it is a special experience as the descriptive, light symphonic angles and orchestral timbres shift on and on in various ways, which made me really miss the accompanying images in some passages as you feel in your bones that there's a lot going on. Next to intimate synth washes and the already-mentioned more turbulent interventions, the overall compositional style is rather complex, meaning that the listener has to take more than one or two listenings to feel and understand its meaning and subtlety.
THE ART OF SPACE
As reviewed by Jim Manning in "The Planetarian":
In one of last year's columns, I mentioned to watch for Mark Mercury's next album, entitled SOLILOQUIES. Well, watch no longer; it's out, retitled as THE ART OF SPACE. But the soliloquies are still there.
THE ART OF SPACE is just that—a really lovely melding of music (composed by Mercury using electronic keyboards and synthesizers) and words (in the form of poetry with space themes written by John Fairfax, John Cotton, Rosser Reeves, and Brian Patten, skillfully recited by Richard Gould and Charmaine Blakely Budaska). The entire assemblage runs a full hour, as eighteen separate pieces mostly between one and seven minutes long.
I've listened to it all, and I really like it. The pieces run a spectrum of moods, from light and whimsical to rich and tonal. One mood (and piece) runs into the next, with periodic pleasant stops at poems that resonate both in the ear and in the mind, underscored by Mercury's music.
Lovely idea, great music, wonderful poems, all beautifully realized as an artistic whole. And I recommend it for your gift shop and for your personal library.