Marshall Watson: The Time Was Later Than He Expected
Highpoint Lowlife Records

Seattle-based Marshall Watson's brand of 'warm electronica'—deeply textured, richly melodic, and expansively arranged—recalls the similarly satisfying music of Ulrich Schnauss; the buoyant melodies in the lovely “A Boy In September” and dreamy “Square Wheels,” for example, are textbook Schnauss. That Watson's less anthemic music adopts a slightly more restrained style isn't a bad thing, though, as the unusual pairing of soft organ chords and pulsating rhythmic activity in “Fifty In June” attests. But don't get the wrong impression either. While Watson might include a nostalgic and glitchy interlude like “About The Time I Remembered,” he contrasts that with noisier moments, like those in the heavier, driving “Lost At Seven,” which nicely merges prickly beats with staccato percussion patterns, and “Heart Of Mine, Beating,” which offsets glimmering electric pianos with snaking bass lines. The album's singular weakness concerns the tinny production treatment of the vocodered singing which sometimes makes it sound like a skuzzy croak. But that's a minor fault in this otherwise top-notch release, which leaves me wondering how long it might be before the name Marshall Watson is as well known in electronic music circles as the name Ulrich Schnauss.

September 2004