Having already released one outstanding album in 2014 Visione on his imprint Eerie, Marco Shuttle is ready to unleash a new full-length that testifies to his diverse talents as a producer. For his new outing, Systhema, he has teamed up with the Spazio Disponibile label of Donato Dozzy and Neel. The artwork has been created by the talented NY based artist/illustrator Neilsecluded which features a portrait of Marco himself and a sort of abstract, snake-like design in the gatefold, somehow reminiscent of the Middle Eastern flavour that the album sometimes subliminally exudes.
Like Visione, Systhema is an album painted mainly with dark hues and with a masterful use of negative space – but it’s a darkness that provides the ideal projection surface for the kind of mental imagery that listeners might not know they had within them. Fans of Marco’s impressive back catalog of singles (e.g. “Sing Like A Bird” or the more recent “Flauto Synthetico”) will find much of the same drive and esoteric energy here, but with that something extra which can only come with an extended amount of listening time.
It all begins with the overture “Adrift,” a patiently evolving and panoramic track in which tantalizing Middle Eastern phrases are framed by deep drones and a foreboding metallic rain. This fades easily into “Thebe,” a unique track something between a slow waltz and a hallucinatory desert journey (complete with the sound of winds rushing over vast expanses of terrain). “I Fail, You Fall” then arrives and brings with it the first appearance of a sturdy techno rhythm, adding a modern sense of urgency to the captivating and timeless noir atmosphere developed over the course of the album so far. Tense, swirling progressions rise from and fade back into a thick haze of reverberation, as chilly percussion accents surround the listener on all sides.
Marco’s salute to dwarf planet “Eris” invites the listener into a sound experience characterized by the ascension of rolling bass drums and the agitated clacking of giant insectoid creatures. The laboratory feel of “Con Sequenza,” with its shuffling snare, authoritative bass kick and determined, climbing synth sequence, then takes things in a slightly different direction: it temporarily changes out the feeling of mystery and legend for one of scientific rigor (in the process, it highlights the questing nature which lies behind both scientific / technological and spiritual methods of discovery). “Venera 3” returns us again to a more lush and humid environment alive with organic squishiness and hidden secrets. By this point in the trip, Shuttle’s arrangements just seem to get more cinematic with each successive track, though eventually many of the built-up tensions are released in the optimistic-sounding “Olga,” a blanket of sound that may bring back to mind 90’s UK ambient, leaning intelligent techno. “Ende” concludes on a similar high note with soaring atmospherics, bringing everything full circle in a bright and majestic way.