November 3 will see the release of the first posthumous Marcus Intalex tracks: Untitled MCR and Acid Monday. Both collaborations with Spirit, they’re arguably the most poignant and hard-hitting tracks Spirit has ever released on his Inneractive label and require your full attention.
Produced this spring during a short session at Marcus’s Manchester studio, the tracks were written just weeks before Marcus passed away on May 28. They mark the first of what may potentially be a number of to-be-released projects and collaborations Marcus left behind. Not only will his legacy live on, but at present it’s still growing. For Spirit, the most important thing was to ensure the release is done respectfully with everyone behind it.
“I postponed it indefinitely,” explains Spirit, aka Duncan Busto. “To be honest, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to handle putting it all together any sooner than this. And before it was returned to the schedule I wanted to be sure that everyone was behind it and the timing was right. As much as I didn’t want to, I was ready to scrap the whole project and leave it unreleased if need be. A lot of people I’ve spoken too have said that one of the saddest days is yet to come, when there’ll be no more of Marcus’ music left to release. For now at least the world will still get to experience a little more of what he had to give and that is precious.”
Long may these precious moments continue. Untitled MCR / Acid Monday can be pre-ordered here. We asked Spirit a few more questions about this crucial release and celebrate the legacy, memories and inspiration Marcus has given drum & bass.
What were your favourite memories of this session?
The jokes we had overall for one thing! It was a pretty busy few days with Soul:ution and being in the studio but there was still time to have a good laugh while we were hanging out. Marcus had just come back from touring Australia and New Zealand so his hours were all messed up and he couldn’t sleep long so we got a lot in. Dan Blindside was also staying over for Soul:ution for a day so it was a lot of fun. I’m surprised we actually got anything done through some of the stupid studio antics but I also remember the last day we just got totally on it and it turned out to be the best one. There were lengthy times during that session where neither of us really spoke other than a ‘yeah’ of approval. I felt my head was going to fall off it was nodding so much as the intensity went up. He was really excited about some of the music that was around and the future of Soul:r, more than I’d seen him in a long time.
How much work was left to do on the tracks post-session?
These were actually all complete. Untitled MCR needed a tiny bit of tweaking mixdown-wise as it was from an earlier session but we squeezed that in and another track on top of these!
They must have been very heavy projects to re-open?
Strangely enough I think I was in such a state of shock for a while that they were the first things I listened to a couple of days after he died. There was an element of denial going on I think so I had this kind of blank emotionless feeling where I was just sitting there scrutinising them to double check they were okay. The last track we made, Crackdown, that was the hardest. It’s very melancholic but there’s a toughness and determination to it that creeps up on you. The first time I played it out I had to grit my teeth through it because the emotion got to me. When the test pressings of this release turned up finally I’m not ashamed to say I started crying and not for the first time. I’d been looking forward to the release probably more than any before it but I know we were going to do more. I was happy that it was ready to go but there was that sadness of it being over, even with one track yet to be released.
Where can you personally hear Marcus the most in both tracks?
On Acid Monday it’s definitely the congas for me. The percussion is so important in a lot of his music I think. Not necessarily standards like congas/bongos but also all those sparse percussive synth rhythms that are enough to just lift a section of a track. He just knew how to blend them in to the rest of the groove perfectly. ‘Untitled MCR’ is the arrangement. He’d be in favour of stretching parts out where I would probably cut sections to try and make it punchier, but he was right. The length and movement of that track is perfect.