3 Smargaid Maerd

UPDATE: the redreamed, remixed, and remastered 2011 version is now up on Bandcamp!

I’m very happy to announce the Third of The Dream Diagrams series is now available to the world. Like previous albums in the series this body of work deals with the meeting place of organic melody and quirky electronica: thematically dealing the unknown realms of delicate emotion and lucid dreaming. There is a general progression from loose improvisations to structured dramas.

The third of the dream diagrams series.

14 drawings of the mind beyond matter.
All songs recorded, composed, mixed and mastered by mr_mark_dollin between late 2006 to May 2008.
Engineering advice by Simon Floth.
Songs were recorded in both The Pink Tank and Galloway Street, Armidale Australia.
Artwork photography by Sue Dollin, editing and web done by Mark.
Light paintings performed by Mark, Scott, Sarah, and Richelle.

Thanks to both Jarrad Cousin and Mick Rippon – Jarrad helped realise some of the rhythmic possibilities in Meteor Shower, and for the same song Mick provided great advice on nurturing some of the song’s thematic subtly. Thanks to Iain, Luke and Dylan of Unity Gain for providing the starting point for Long. Thanks to Ruth Strut for the vocal tuition. Thanks to Renoise for the technical means of capturing these ideas. Also thanks to members of the online tracking community for feedback and advice along the way.

Special thanks to Richelle for being both a muse and the source of the title for Speacestream.

Now is not the time to write essays about these pieces - they are here as they are, warts and all. I’ve got these out of my system, and it feels good to move onto more formal and structured projects. For now I hope you enjoy these pieces. It is done!

Good evening then, to my first and your 1,346th post.

I’m just downloading your album and already looking forward to it. I really like Meteor Shower.
A full review will be available soon. ^_^

Greetings, Chris

Welcome to the boards! Glad you’re downloading and looking forward to the review ;)

I downloaded when it was posted and will give it a proper rinse come monday. Initial scrubbing looks promising.

Congrats and thanks for sharing the album!

Thanks Conner, your attention is certainly welcome. This stuff certainly isn’t for everyone, but hopefully I’ve got enough variety in there to at least strike a chord with someone.

Grabbed it too and will give it a full listen soon. Your RSS feed is very handy. ;)

Hello fellow renoisers,

finally, here comes my review of mr_mark_dollins new album. I have to apologize, it took a long time to write it, because there were a lot of other things that wanted to be written :)

Here we go: mr_mark_dollins new album “3 Smargaid Maerd” comes as a shiny download of 14 tracks with nice online-foto-booklet. I loaded it into my favourit playback application, started the first song (loopzilla), and had a look at the booklet.

“loopzilla” starts nice, warm and slow, in connection with the first page of the booklet I had a feelling of coming home late, from a big and loud party. You sit in your car, just turned off the engine. Everything is calm, your ears are still ringing, you start to relax.

The feeling continues in “happy pain”, sometimes you can hear the guitars again and your heart starts to beat faster, as you recognize the tunes.

“burning dog transmission” has a more (subliminal) agressive vibe, perhaps the first signs of lack of sleep?

“levitating night journey” and “no real summer” turned out to be the perfect soundtrack for my morning last tuesday. I sat at Hamburgs Binnenalster (see photo below) with the biggest and hottest coffee I could get. It was cloudy and really stormy, but warm. Trees shook their branches in the wind. Small waves were running over the water, just like these suits and young professionals hurrying from one side of the city to the other. I layed back and enjoyed the show. Great moment, perfect soundtrack!

“three billion cicades” is more noisy and buzzing, but has some nice guitar in it. It also has a touch of western/desperado to it. Found its way into my music-for-roleplaying-list ;)

“trans-meterological haircut” is still athmospheric, but starts to wake you up for the second half of the album. “sub conscious” tells you from the fairy-highlands through a waterfall, sometimes you can’t distinguish the guitar from a flute.

At this point of the album, I have been in need for speed and a bit more funkyness. But “while you were in the shower” and “spacestream” are still slow and atmospheric. Are these songs tales from a relationship? Is this, why “we need to talk”? I don’t know. Track eleven sounds melancholic but hopefull and has a uplifting beat. There is also a growling buzz in it. And it has a kind of abrupt ending. Room for interpretation?

The last three tracks then totally sastisfied my hunger for funkyness. “lost in the mist” has a 80’s easy listening guitar, guttural bass and flanging-pop-beats. Perfect. “long” is even better, it has very good male vocals, 4-on-the-floor beat, spacy strings PLUS chippy-blippy leads. I like chippy. I like this one. I love 8:10!

I think, I don’t have to say much about “meteor shower”, Foo did this himself (klick!). All I have to say, this tops the album off. Every feeling Foo describes in his single release post is in there.

“3 Smargaid Maerd” gave me a good time, it is a great soundtrack for mornings, it is on my music-player. Thank you for sharing your music, foo!

Greetz, Chris

edit: some typos…

Wow kwandtum! What a response! How very kind of you to type all that out for us :D I enjoyed reading your interpretation. Great to see that the music is fuelling some healthy imagination. ;) I’ll have to honour the review in my blog or something…

Thanks Kaneel. There’s a song in there about Australian Cicadas, so I hope I pass that test! :unsure:

I’ve listened to the album half a dozen times. I like it. It’s on regular rotation for me. The droning, tension, and soundscaping is excellent.

“No real summer” and “Sub conscious” left me hanging and got me to emote. They were very powerful for me.

As a complete album it holds together very well and delivers a unique signature, yours.

There are a few elements which are a bit too “new age” for me for lack of a better word. “We need to talk” kind of has this vibe… but not really, because it’s a good song if I give it a chance, especially after the 4:30 mark with all the droning. I don’t know how to describe it. But if I compare it to, say, “Spacestream” which I like very much, I feel “We need to talk” appeals to a different aesthetic.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the album is like a mixed bag of space journey (i.e. new age) and really emotional / raw material, I guess. I’m attracted to the emotional / raw material, and the mix of both is successful, so i have to conclude that it’s a plus for wider audience appeal.

Kudos for a great album. Thanks again for sharing.

this one goes very well with a summer storm and some playful thunder

although i suspect it will suit any season and any storm

Thanks to Conner and 7kilo for the public feedback, most appreciated! Some thoughtful words there. Thanks at this point should also go to Mick Rippon and Suva for buying the FLAC version of the album: a very kind gesture. :)

I feel I should comment on the ‘new age’ element that Conner has addressed. I can completely appreciate the cringe factor with classic ‘new age music’, there’s nothing quite as culturally shallow as some whispy passive ambient with the usual under-processed FM synth noodling and some token ‘world peace and harmony’ sample cues. We’ll leave that as some sort of commercial lubricant for ‘hippy shops’ that flog off shit you don’t need made by sweatshops in SE Asia. So you can understand that musical lexicon wasn’t at all my starting point nor my frame of reference at all with any of these tracks. Although, yes, I can see that lots of moments in these songs have that ‘mystical cosmic’ aspect to them, which from the point of view of my intentions was absolutely inevitable (as I will explain below) - it’s just a coincidence that the emotions present turned out to be musical cousins of the commercialized B-grade mood music we’ve all come to sigh at.

My present perspective on the universe, consciousness and purpose is easily put as being ‘esoteric’ and therefore complex, obscure, and difficult to win friends with at social gatherings and board meetings etc. I want to clearly state that this isn’t anything born out of mindless ‘new ageism’ nor honoring some social cast of ‘post hippies’, all of which I’m highly critical of and can think of numerous examples of dogmatism and contradictory thinking. I like to hope my perspective in comparison is highly complex but also unified and integrative. Here is not the place to discuss the detail of this. But, to put it shortly, this perspective works it’s way into my personal life and how I go about doing music. Even more so when the music is improvised on the fly, expressing with my limited musical vocabulary, things that are emotionally close to home and coloured with my world view.

If this has come across as cringe-worthy ‘new age’ then I’d say it’s only the fault of my limited improvisational language, and that through further experience I’ll be able to better convey these sentiments while avoiding the shallow clichè. Perhaps I should explain the circumstances in which some the referred pieces came about:

Spacestream was a lovely quiet moment of straight out improvisation, but with an important context: I performed the whole thing (while recording, first layering the ambience, then doing the lead melody both with the guitar) in front of my ‘yet to be girlfriend’. So it was that moment, what it is is what it is, read into that what you will. Being pretty happy with it I decided to ask her what the first word that came into her head after I recorded: and she said ‘spacestream’. So there you go. We Need To Talk was the same sort of thing but much later, and this time a moment of interpersonal tension. That feeling was present and I decided to enact on it putting it into structured music. To me the piece isn’t a new age sonic bubblebath, but one of bittersweet reflection. ‘Something is wrong but something is right’. For me the slow plod of the break and the bass changes represent that personal process of working through those dramas, and I’m sure people can empathise with that on some level.

Or look at the explanation of Meteor Shower, in which I dreamed the melody before I wrote it. Of course you could read that as being new age fud, but all it was for me was a potent experience that made exceptional sense to me and had to be followed up. My hope is the result has integrity and punch, like all the tracks. My mission isn’t persuasion to whatever hippy trend is about; think of it persuasion to honor subtly and overlooked complexity. Last thing I want to appear as is a wet blanket of passiveness.

And another matter: people are probably wondering ‘why on Earth would you be indulging in all this washy fluff when there are great frontiers being pushed with rhythm and noise (insert hot genre of the moment here)’. Well, I’m getting old. I’m tired of being blasted, yelled at, told to subscribe to some hollow hype, and I’m finding more satisfaction in stuff outside box that tries damn hard to have some beauty and timelessness to it (regardless of genre). Yes, that means I then earn a limited audience. Yes, I’m ok with being seen as a rambling lunatic. You’d be surprised what people take with them, archive deep inside themselves, only to have it resurface at the right moment holding the door open to an option never before possible.


Sorry Kaneel, there is no great justice. I’ll make it up to you with a ROOS song soon…

Great stuff Mark! Just a small question… why not include the m3u in the archive? :)

Why not indeed! I’m on it ->

finally listened to the whole album . very personal style, or at least I have never listened to anything similar :)

it’s consistent and preciously crafted, a sort of voyage which starts from inside of you and tries to go outside. luckily, I managed to complete the trip :)

meteor shower is just epic. great finish to a great album.

Thanks for the feedback! Nice to know that the thread hasn’t died.

I’m actually about to release a remastered version of this very very very soon! Quote from my blog:

Needless to say I think this version coming out will be ‘definitive’.

Not long to go now!!

As a little teaser I give you two previously unreleased track that never made it to the album but were part of the same project:


These just didn’t fit the flow of the album but do stand on their own as fully developed pieces. They fall into the category of ‘completely performed live’ pieces using nothing but by guitar as an input. The sounds were morphed and looped on the fly using Renoise, and of course later edited to sound sweet and expansive.

Stay tuned for the remastered version of the album very soon!

Link removed.

This puts to rest unease I had about the previous mixes being too muddy, and therefore suffering a lot in web-streaming players. Over the next little while I’ll be updating this around the web so that this version is the one everyone gets to hear. Given my limitations technically, this version is definitive.

For the very select few of you who purchased the FLAC version of the album, you can download from the mmd shop the updated version of the FLAC package free of charge. Just log in, and you should be able to download your copy still. If you have any problems with that please email me and I’ll arrange something. For those of you who haven’t bought it, you might like to know it’s only $10 and sounds much better than the mp3s.

I’ve also put some time into developing a basic print out version of the album that will go onto CD. I’m doing an extremely limited edition run of these and basically posting them to a few Australian friends who are not so connected to the age of the internet. The CD version is mixed with the tracks blending so it’s a slightly more cohesive listening experience. If anyone overseas would love a copy of this then I’m offering copies for $30 each - each made by myself and signed. Please send me a message or email at m [at] thequietrevolution [dot] net and we can arrange something. Again, I’ll state the these are very limited.

I feel good to have this behind me finally! Enjoy the improved mixes!

Anyone had a chance to listen to these new mixes yet?