The first 'Sketches From An Island' album garnered support from a diverse set of trailblazers. From Gilles Peterson to Trevor Jackson, Boiler Room to Pitchfork, Mark Barrott has become an unlikely hero for Balearic music after only a few short years living in Ibiza.
Barrott founded the International Feel label in Uruguay in 2008. Ironically his formula is to not pay attention to the outside world, valuing only his own intuition, which has more than once led him to drop out and find himself on the other side of the world. Barrott's impermanence and isolation has steered the International Feel label to become a new voice for dance music, standing apart from current trends and one that many people are now gravitating towards.
The Fader noted that Sketches is "brimming with New Age arpeggios and field recordings of local wildlife". For Barrott it acts as a bridge between his own spirituality and creative expression. "Humanity is facing a big challenge at the moment. We're at a fork in the path,' he muses. 'More so than ever people are now pushing the boundaries, taking more drugs and seeking sensory overload, driven in part by the hedonism traditionally associated with dance music. For me, it's time to focus more on making healing music, on trying to find the balance between all this wonderful technology and the freedom it gives us with the natural world. This is one of the overriding inspirations for the Sketches series.'
'I am also telling stories of everyday life in Ibiza, soundtracking my life here through local field recordings, dusty synths, some African percussion and a bit of slide guitar. This music isn't about finding the latest trends in the way other dance music is, it's a lot more like folk music, taking mood, atmosphere and composition and threading stories around that framework.'
Balearic music gave birth to dance music as we know it, but its diversity and openmindedness was lost in it's translation to the stark modern world. As Pitchfork stated in their piece on Sketches, "It may be overshadowed by billboards of current trends, but the spirit remains intact."
While the original spirit from the first Sketches album remains, tracks like the instrumental
emotional pop of 'Driving to Cap Negret' and the heavy weather atmosphere of 'Distant Storms at Sea' highlight a compositional leap forward. The polyrhythmic joy of 'Cirrus & Cumulus' and overall feeling portrayed by Barrott's idiosyncratic aural oddities, highlight a composer comfortable in his own skin and very content with his surroundings and day to day life.
"It was also influenced by playing at La Torre last summer,' Barrott explains of his residency at Ibiza's latest sunset mecca. 'I loved seeing how people react to the wonderful spectacle of the sunset and how you can create a movie soundtrack where the sunset is the film."
Barrott also held a residency at Ibiza's infamous Pikes alongside DJ Harvey last summer. But is happiest at home, "engulfed in Mark world, which is all about my wife and family, the cats, sunsets, eating well, meditating, hanging cricket."
A brave and outspoken maverick, Sketches bares his soul and heart, perhaps the reason so many are drawn to it. ' This new album is a