Agitated Atmosphere: Mark McGuire – Along the Way

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Mark McGuire.

Today marks an end. An era must come to a close. It is time to say goodnight to a staple of Agitated Atmosphere: Mark McGuire.

This is not because McGuire has graduated to the big leagues but as happens, sometimes an old flame says goodbye and you must set them free. Along the Way, McGuire’s hefty double LP, is a slow motion wave farewell. Across that body of ocean and time, perched proudly upon the deck, he sails into the sunset as I stand on the port where emotions remain unchanged but the literal gap speaks to our growing philosophical changes.

Along the Way is a collection of McGuire’s previous work, be in the now-extinct Emeralds or as a young solo guitarist slowly picking out the notes and progressions worth following. The culmination of years of trial and error have led to this definitive statement on his place in the musical frontier and the path he chooses to follow. It’s a deft blend of the new age drone of Emeralds, with more of the skillful pop melodies he’s carved across a smattering of looped pastiche. The crowning achievement: how it all effortless blends together, not only from one song to the next but as pieces per composition.

Though we wave a hearty bon voyage between the watery rift, we are not going our separate ways. It’s a metaphorical goodbye to what was and acknowledgement that something new is to come. Along the Way is the frozen moment-in-time to capture this feeling before it floats way.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. You can also find him on Twitter.

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