Marc-E is a bit of an anomaly in the EDM/electronica world, as the only thing he really adheres to is not adhering to genre or beat structure. Over the course of his discography, Marc-E has covered pretty much every type of beat structure one can imagine, in fact, from house to psytrance to drone to halftime. Much more concerned with vibes, Marc-E is more interested in channeling the more spiritual aspects of music through what appears to be an experimental format. His work isn’t all woo-woo panflute either; he prefers to work with deeper, more earthy tones.
Following the earthy rabbit hole as he has since YEDM first featured his 2021 album, Catharsis, seems to have led Marc-E to an interesting new place in his style journey. With his latest track, “Before the Thought,” he’s well and truly into bass music. “Before the Thought” opens with a single, deep, dropping sine note which is slowly filled in by other eerie and unconventional sounds (is that a glockenspiel?). This opening and its slow addition of parts may lead listeners to believe the track will beatless or have an unconventional beat structure but at the track unravels, it’s actually quite clear. It’s a halftime tempo with a straight beat, tantamount to slowed-down riddim.
As odd as that classification may sound to riddim or even halftime/trap adherents, the type of work in “Before the Thought” has been simmering below the surface of EDM for a long time. Deep bass soundsystem-style trap and halftime are quite regularly released by the likes of 1985 or Deadbeats. In fact, a little more edge to this track and it could slide right in among Alix Perez and Headland’s recent releases on 1985. Not that Marc-E is concerned with that; he seems much more of an independent player. “Before the Thought” does have those great, soundsystemy brain massage deep bass drones, however, that any raver would relish after a long festival of banging bass.
Playing as much with energy as he experiments with sound, “Before the Thought” is only surprising in terms of how deep Marc-E gets with the bass here. Fans of this ambient and tribal tinkerer should not be surprised that he’s added yet another beat structure to his style, and it’s clear he’s nowhere near finished. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.