With his Familiar Five EP, London-based producer Marcus Marr has taken his darkest and most thrillingly outré turn yet. Recorded through the long dark nights in the splendid isolation of his Brixton studio, lead single “Familiar Five” is a tale of bizarre transformation that points up the fragile boundaries between dreams and reality.
“Familiar Five” feels like an outsider anthem. “It’s about being a freak and accepting it – being happy to be a freak,” notes Marr. He narrates the song with his finest deadpan lip-curl, managing to make the lyrics sound suggestive, malevolent and wildly empowering all at once. “It was sounding quite sinister as I was making it, and I thought a voice would sound good on it,” recalls Marr. “I was reading Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kafka’s Metamorphosis as well,” he remembers. Other diverse influences setting the track’s fabulously unnerving tone include Marr’s readings about “familiar spirits” – the occult animals believed to assist medieval witches in their nefarious deeds.
The other songs featured on the Familiar Five EP include “Love Release,” which taps into the energy and live power of his DJ sets; “High Times,” a track that’s influenced by his love of early 80’s dance music (“I was definitely thinking of Nile Rodgers in 1979, 1980, there... I have a bit of a thing for that period at the beginning of the ‘80s before drum machines took control of dance music.”); and previous single “Rocketship.”
Marr is no stranger to collaboration, working with Australian musician Chet Faker on 2015’s Work EP. Work yielded two hit singles, “Birthday Card” (Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 first play, #1 Hype Machine) and “The Trouble with Us” (#1 Hype Machine). The Familiar Five EP, however, shows him in his individual element, an artist and performer who understands just how to make superb music for both man and machine.
A regular at Berlin’s famed nightclub Berghain/Panorama Bar since 2014, Marcus Marr recently toured in North America with The Juan Maclean. He has previously toured with the likes of Hot Chip, Floating Points, Jacques Greene and Optimo, and has performed at the highly-regarded MoMa PS1 Warm Up series, Day For Night Festival, and Art Basel Miami. Marcus has also contributed mixes to Beats in Space and Boiler Room.
1) Familiar Five
2) Love Release
3) High Times