"Mark's music has gone from strength to strength, and `Ojos de la Tierra' is, in my view, his best yet. He's always had the support of excellent collaborators, and this latest album demonstrates that emphatically. It's a joy to possess and to listen to.
I shall conclude this review with an observation from my mother, to whom I gifted a copy of `Ojos de la Tierra' and who at time of writing has it running ceaselessly in the car's CD player; comparing it to other examples of the same genre, she announced that Mark's music was her favourite, because "he writes better tunes".
He does, you know."
"A delightful CD, versatile and skillful guitar playing, accompanied by an interesting variety of other instruments. It invokes moods ranging from relaxation to excitement to the mystery of the East.I never tire of playing it."
"A gorgeous selection of evocative tunes which take Spanish guitar music to new places, both exciting and peaceful. The arrangements are complex but Mark's wonderful playing always shines through."
"I have all of Mark's albums and this is the best so far...He's extremely talented and I highly recommend any of his albums, but especially this one. When sitting out on my deck in the summer with a glass of wine and Mark's music in the background, I feel like I'm on holiday! Very enjoyable and relaxing."
(David, Leigh on Sea )
A ground-breaking album, featuring some of the most inspired instrumental Spanish guitar music of today. "Ojos de la Tierra" is a musical journey which fuses Mark's trademark melodic and passionate Spanish guitar work with a variety of instruments and genres from around the globe. The album features some outstanding performances and accompaniments on instruments including viola, violin, bass and accordion.
Café Tierra was inspired by memories of laid-back cafés and exotic beaches and generally of being in the sun. An uplifting piece to start the album, featuring a guitar inter-play between Guitarra Arrizza and I along with funky drums and driving electric bass.
This melody just came to me one night after a beginners’ Salsa dancing class which admittedly wasn’t something I excelled at – I do have two left feet! However, the slow Salsa rhythms stuck in my head and, that same night, formed the basis for ‘Avocado’, named after one of my favourite fruits. Listen out for talented Chris McGrath on piano, Tim’s bass guitar and superb Latin percussion which provide the finishing touches.
I’ve always enjoyed the ‘Argentinean Tango’ style upon which this song is based, although when composing the solo, what transpired was a bit more ‘Gypsy Jazz.’ Unexpected, but it worked. A simple ditty with just lead and rhythm guitar, nothing more, this provides a nice little interlude between longer tracks.
I believe some melodies are just meant to be written. ‘Mar de Sueños’ takes you on a tranquil journey across the ocean, the waves gently lapping as you drift into a sea of dreams. The cello (courtesy of Studio Pros) and Tim’s fretless bass add a touch of class and magic to this piece.
This composition was inspired by the music of Jesse Cook. His use of melody, light and shade and ability to evoke emotion in music are qualities to which I aspire and hopefully, have achieved with this piece. I’ve always been strongly drawn to Middle Eastern music and to bring out the flavour of this piece, I wanted more than just guitar as the lead instrument. I transcribed the viola parts and solo, which are complimented very nicely in the latter part of the song by some wild improvisation from Tim on his 200-year-old Polish gypsy violin.
This is a sort of sequel to ‘Zafirah’ from ‘Exotica’ driven by my love of Eastern music and evokes an exotic journey full of mystery, excitement, light and shade. Tim is on violin and bass and the Middle Eastern percussion is provided by Studio Pros.
Inspired by my travels in France, and my love of their cafe culture, this piece is my attempt to create "the perfect soundtrack" by which to enjoy an afternoon espresso in the back streets of old Nice. Imagine yourself soaking up the ambience, watching the world go by, and listening to some local musicans play something decidedly French.
This song was created when my father-in-law, Giles Newman Turner, was staying for the weekend. It was yet another weekend of grey clouds on the horizon. We were jamming when I came up with this melody, which I think conjures up images of cloudy skies and ‘feeling a bit down’ while waiting for the sun. Cajon, shaker and bongos were added to the rhythm section whilst Tim provides an evocative violin solo. My friend Yannaki from New York heard it and loved it so much, he offered to add a guitar solo. So, the first solo is Yannaki, the second one is me, then Tim’s violin break followed by the ‘quiet section’ (me again). I love the ending of this song, with the combination of Tim’s haunting violin note, bass note and my rasqueados.
This originally had a working title of ‘Lawrence of Skarabia’ but eventually got its name from a bottle of Hungarian liqueur brought over by my uncle Adam in Summer 2011. I wanted to do something up-tempo, Eastern, melodic and lively with this piece. The melody came naturally and the violin which shares the melody with the guitar, adds depth and an almost Hungarian feel to the music. Al Marconi makes a guest appearance with a fiery Eastern guitar solo. I love the ascending and descending chromatic runs during the chorus which are simple, yet deceptively complex to get right. Tim’s bass and the Middle Eastern percussion are spot on.
This number is based on a tune I wrote about 11 years ago called ‘Puertamagica’. The original song started off with promise but never reached completion. I’ve taken the melody and added two completely new sections giving it a more exotic nature. For the second of these two new sections, (section 4 of the overall song), Yannaki adds an Eastern guitar solo in his unique style (which makes a Spanish guitar sound somewhere between a guitar and a bouzouki – that’ll be his Greek roots). He also came up with the great idea of resolving back to ‘part 2’ after ‘part 4’, with his passionate and emotive guitar playing gently segueing around my melody line. This piece now feels complete and takes the listener on a journey of discovery through ‘the eyes of the earth.’