Mark Barrott – Sketches From An Island 3: EP Review

Mark Barrott, an English DJ and record producer, has dabbled with many different genres since his start in the mid 90’s. He received a plethora of attention for his ambient, house, and drum’n’bass tracks, released under multiple aliases, one of the best-known being, “Future Loop Foundation.”But, a move to the islands of Ibiza in the late 2000s soon inspired a transition from his former techno-rave sounds to a very unique tropical vibe, which he began to produce under his own name. In 2009, he went on to start up his own label, International Feel Recordings, in Uruguay. Barrott mentions the label was created for “open minded music heads, who, like us, are driven by 100% passion and perfection in everything we do.” The label is driven by sounds of the retro Balearic house style, which originated from “beach raves” on the Balearic island of Ibiza.

Barrott’s move to the utopian beaches of Ibiza became the driving inspiration behind his “Sketches From An Island” series. His recent release, “Sketches From An Island 3” is a perfectly assembled successor to his past releases, staying true to the carefree islander spirit it so well portrays. Barrott takes us on a trip through the tropics in this harmonious album. It’s symphonic and blissful, yet groovy enough to get you up and dancing. Barrott’s creativity oozes through his music, he takes sounds and inspiration from all parts of the world and brings them together beautifully in his newest installment of the series. From his carefully constructed tracks to the nautical cover art, the care Barrott put into the creation of this is evident.

Barrott takes us to a paradise we can only dream of through this 4 track album. I love the psychedelic and mystic air around this album, the music really draws you in. It’s tropical, yet unique compared to much of the tropical house that has been flourishing in the edm scene. “Sketches From An Island 3”, has a much more native feel to it’s sound, we feel like we’re in a summertime utopia; without a care in the world. The albums opens with, “Right 4 Me”, cheerful, breezy, and full of that “good vibe”, energy. The next track is deeply alluring, “The Mysterious Island Of Dr Nimm”, features chimes of indigenous instrumentals, animal calls, and takes us deep into the dark foliage of a far away jungle. “Cirrus & Cumulus”, is a tune as light and airy as it’s name might suggest, melding sweet birdcalls with upbeat instrumentals and calming synth. The final track, “Der Stern, Der Nie Vergeht”, puts our minds at ease. The strumming of a sitar balances beautifully with the electronic beats Barrott meshes in and creates the perfect meditative track.

If by the end of this album you have the urge to pack up everything and buy a one-way ticket to the tropics, we really can’t blame you. Barrott artfully paints a picture of paradise throughout this release; it’s chill, tranquil, natural. It is the embodiment of island life, the perfect album to put on, kick back, and escape reality. Or, if you’d rather, stick your toes in the sand and sip on a cold drink to.

—Caitlin Cline

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