Along the Way
Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is your progtronic masterpiece for an ultimate Zen listening experience.
By progtronic, imagine everything noodly and driving about a good progressive rock guitar melody in tandem with everything smooth and fuzzed out in a great ambient track. Along the Way is McGuire’s first solo release since splitting with ambient-electronic trio Emeralds back in 2013, but he’s been making his own jams since 2009. McGuire is signed to Dead Oceans, which spits out quality electronic folk and rock records on the regular.
McGuire wanted Along the Way to represent “an odyssey through the vast, unknown regions of the mind,” and he delivers in this meandering release. Sampling what could be an old saved voicemail in a track like “The Human Condition (Song for my Father),” McGuire simulates a therapeutic revisiting of suppressed memories in his labyrinthine mind. And as purring guitar pounds, Laurie Anderson-esque robotic vocals wash over an ethereal synth progression.
The intro track “Awakening” opens with heavy trance like strums of a guitar and hazy strings that sound like something you’d hear in a garden in Beijing. McGuire weaves in a lot of simulated organic noises throughout, like in “To The Macrobes (Where Do I Go?)” where McGuire interlaces stark piano with what sounds like the gurgling of a stream.
At face value, Along the Way is an incredibly beautiful, though not incredibly complex ambient rock record. McGuire doesn’t break much new ground, but his love of producing pleasing to hear atmospheric electronic music with progressive rock twinges is truly apparent.
Regardless, an incredibly worthwhile listen, Along the Way is the soundtrack for your afternoons of quiet self-reflection.
— Cozy Brents
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