Exclusive Review – Marc Poppcke releases new album – 35

Artist: Marc Poppcke
Title: 35
Label: Crossfrontier Audio
Cat No: CFACD002
Release date: 04/05/2015 (Beatport exclusive), 2 weeks later for all other digital stores
Format: Digital, CD (300 copies), Vinyl (200 copies)
Genre: Progressive House

Marc Poppcke is a name I associate with quality melodic progressive productions, and here Marc presents 11 tracks of that very type as part of his album “35”. The year 2015 sees Marc reach several milestones such as celebrating his 15th year of being a DJ, 10 years since making the move to the clubbing capital of the world, Berlin, and turning the age of 35 which I am guessing is why the album is titled “35”. With a string of huge releases on his own label Crossfrontier Audio, as well as labels such as Sudbeat, Last Night On Earth, Freerange, and Get Physical you know that you are listening to a quality producer who is very comfortable in the studio, and with his sound. Marc describes the album as more than just a selection of club tracks, and more like a labour of passion and love that pays tribute to all the events that have lead him up to today.

I feel very privileged to have my hands on a copy of this album so soon, and I could not wait to get my headphones on, and begin the journey that Marc had mapped out for me. The first track on the album is the aptly titled “Welcome” which does just that. The track begins with a beautiful melodic but dark electronic vibe that soon builds into a great kick, and well placed percussive number. I have always loved this mans work, and felt that he always encapsulates the progressive sound so well. The opening track is quite slow in terms of pace, and filled with devine ethereal soundscapes and deep dark pads; some great use of effects as well to draw out those keys. About midway through the opening track you are confronted with almost eastern like chords and melody that lift the track from its dark beginning. What a way to open what I am sure will be a sublime journey of progressive delights.

The second track on the album is “Voyage” which picks up from where the previous track left off. This has a bit more of a deep house vibe through it, and the chords are looped and repeated throughout along with some beautifully timed delays and echoes. The track never really builds too much, and keeps things very low tempo. This is a stark contrast to what the third track “Invisible” is all about. From the off you know this is going to be a little more pacey, and along that electro progressive sound. The track has a great low end groove, and after about 1 minute you can soon hear those dark melodic keys beginning to build in an almost vortex fashion. This is certainly one of those mood changing tracks that any progressive loving dance floor will go mad for… Certainly one for the Digweed fans!

The fourth track, “Ablaze” begins it’s journey as a tribal/percussive number before those trademark Poppcke warm, deep melodies begin to underpin everything, and almost lift the track on a carpet of electronic thunder. Marc uses some clever key changes to keep things interested, and that growling bassline just keeps you reminded that although this is uplifting in parts it is a million miles away from anything commercial or cheesy! Stunning work! This track sits perfectly next to the fifth track on the album, “Impulse” which is again a very percussive sounding number. At the start it could be any percussive house track but when the bassline presents itself you know this is no ordinary track. Marc uses what can only be described as glitchy scratch sounds throughout that work beautifully, and we soon hear an effected vocal sample. The track builds slowly into a stunning breakdown that is filled with atmospheric merriment, and satisfaction… wow! The sixth track, “Saga” sees us continue on our progressive journey, as things move away from the percussive side of things into a more deep progressive sound; a sound that Marc is known and loved for. The bassline is drawn out well and has a fat low end, and the keys help build the track with the use of some well paced delay, and processed claps. The break in this track is one of my favourites on the album and encapsulates Marc’s sound perfectly in my opinion. Not many producers out there can create melodies like this… It has an almost classical electronica sound to it that just draws you in. When the track drops you certainly know you are back in the room! A track I am desperate to hear on a large sound system.

Number seven on the album “Passion” picks up the pace a little more, and moves away from the dreamy melodies of “Saga” to a more driving progressive sound. Certainly a track I can see Cattaneo hammering over the coming months! The track has an almost funky bassline and uses those squelchy bass stabs to full effect. The siren like ethereal sounds used keep you on your toes, and remind you again this man knows how to create emotion! This album sure is a journey, and I am only just over half way through! The eighth track on the album “Opportune” is in the same ball park as the previous track but uses hi hats to full effect, creating and almost techno/progressive vibe. As always Marc keeps that emotion flowing through the track with some atmospheric keys, and warm luscious pads. The break is short but beautifully crafted! I like how he keeps the pace through this track. This leads me into track number nine which is named “Convidence”. Again we hear the return of Marc’s percussive side, creating an almost Lawyer style drum pattern. Again those warm keys soon appear creating that emotion that just completes the track to perfection. I love the way Marc intertwines the darker keys in with those sprinkles of the lighter keys to create an almost contradiction to his melody. If I was not sat here with a glass of red wine listening to this I would be up dancing round the front room to this album!

I head towards the final 2 tracks on the album… first up is track number ten, “Bloom” which sees Marc return to the wonderful plink plonk atmospheric melodies. This track is another atmospheric electronic delight that keeps you on the right side of uplifting. The track uses some well placed peaks and drops to keep things interesting but never detracts away from that penetrating beautiful melody. This sees me move on to the final track “Goodbye”, and I must admit it makes me sad purely because I have enjoyed this album so much. I don’t want to stop listening! The track “Goodbye” is a slow paced melodic statement piece that ends the album perfectly. Again Marc weaves the keys and melodies to great effect to create an everlasting statement. A beautiful way to say goodbye to a phenomenal album.

This is an album that Marc Poppcke has clearly poured his heart and soul into, and I feel it encapsulates his sound to perfection. It is easily his finest work to date in my mind, and one I suggest you all check out. The album is full of beautiful crescendos, and is simply an incredible musical journey. Marc I salute you, this is easily my favourite album of the year so far by a league and a mile!


Ian French
About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and Progressive House. If he was to describe his preferred style of music he would probably describe it simply as electronic music. Besides his love for music and DJing his other passions are fine cuisine, wine, and travel.