The music on this album is rich and complex in terms of both melody and composition and is mostly instrumental, with some atmospheric vocals. Acoustic and electric guitars feature throughout along with electronic instruments and strong rhythms which combine to create a lush, vibrant and powerful sound. World flavours come together with dance, progressive rock, jazz and ambient influences to produce music that explores an eclectic, layered mix of different styles and atmospheres while also maintaining its own strong identity. Much of the music has a ‘film-score’ feel and some of the pieces have an ‘epic’ quality. Each piece has a tentatively suggested theme, while also leaving plenty of room for the listener to respond to the music in their own unique way. Some of the ideas for the pieces come from world events and the environment, love, the pursuit of excellence and Jungian psychology. The album as a whole is a tapestry of different musical styles and philosophical explorations and has the feeling of a journey or a story. The title, 'Head Room' suggests a mental space, a state of mind, an inner world full of archetypal images and themes which is what the music is all about.
Review by Road Records, Dublin, October 2006:
“Mark DuBerry is a Dublin based songwriter blending the likes of jazz rock, electronic, prog rock and synth based compositions. This 8 track album is released through his own label. The album is a lovely blend of jazzy electric guitars, some almost classical acoustic guitar sounds and lush washes of synth. The overall sounds range from the almost Steve Reich like repetitive guitar sounds of opening track Tribute to a much more prog rock sounding version of the likes of The Future Sound of London, take in a bit of seventies breezy jazz rock along the way and you end up with a highly entertaining album.”
Reviewed in ‘Prog Resiste’, a Belgian magazine of Progressive Rock, by Alex Willem in Issue no. 48, April 2007 (translated from French):
"Mark DuBerry’s album Head Room brings a breath of fresh air which reminds me of many years ago when there weren’t very many new progressive rock releases and I turned my attention to other types of music. At the time I discovered Jazz-Rock which was then still called New Age, not to be confused with New Wave, which later in certain cases became known as World Music. This is the great era of Pat Metheny or that of Windham Hill Records who produced (and still produce by the way) artists like William Ackerman, Mark Isham or George Winston. Head Room is an album which is totally in line with a lot of these artists. More particularly and personally, it reminds me of the very fine Indian Summer by Friedemann Witecka or the more classical music of John Themis, even if in this case it is a lot more varied and doesn’t contain a lot of the pure New Age soothing or relaxing type of music. The music of Mark DuBerry without doubt owes that variety to his numerous stated influences which range from Peter Gabriel to Weather Report, while passing through Mike Oldfield. It is a mixture of Jazz, Rock, ethnic music and many other styles. Electronic sounds produced on the keyboards are followed by the acoustic sounds of a Spanish guitar or bagpipes. Nervy Rock or Jazzy rhythms alternate with other more soothing ones, or again folk singing from diverse origins (Africa, the Middle-East or Japan). Head Room is a good instrumental album which invites you on a voyage, exterior or interior and in time or space. An album which it is good to let yourself be taken along with…"
December 2006: The track ‘Stories’ is featured in programme 15 on Radio Muse, an internet radio station featuring independent songwriters and composers. Listen to the track and DJ’s comments at the link opposite.
February 2007: The track 'High Flyer' reached number 12 in the American Idol Underground Electronica charts.
April 2007: ¨High Flyer' reached number 3 in the American Idol Underground Electronica charts.
July 2007: The CD received 'quality' airplay on RTE, the Irish national radio station. It was featured on the programme 'Late Date' presented by John Creedon, a well-known Irish DJ and presenter. It has also had regular airplay on Dynamic Independent Radio, WDYN in New York.
Reviewed on Indie-Music.com by Travis Dow:
"As the title suggests, Head Room takes the listener on a tour of several psychological states, including creativity, love, loss, and self-discovery. That it does so in such an engaging and entertaining manner is a tribute to Mark DuBerry’s instrumental gifts. From a base of Dublin, Ireland, DuBerry, who plays everything on the album, crafts synth and guitar-based music with a truly international flair.
Beginning with the first track, "Tribute," an ode to the creative process, the album alternately builds and deconstructs tension, using an astounding variety of sounds, including searing electric guitars, wild keyboards, an array of human voices in various tongues, and even, at one point, bagpipes. From the Asian touches of "That Time of Year" (written for DuBerry’s father) to the slinky rhythm of Slide (just try listening to this without moving), the music veers from progressive rock to new age to jazz.
The album kicks into high gear with Track 4, "High Flyer," where a driving beat and a wah wah pedal start heating things up. In fact, the sequence of the album greatly assists in keeping the music fresh: just when the ear needs a new sound or a new rhythm, there it is with the next track. Head Room rocks when it needs to, and creates contemplative moods when they’re called for.
With its opening few notes, the album bursts out with a clear vision. DuBerry is an artist with something to say and the skills to put it across. It’s impossible not to be drawn into the message, and amazing to realize how much emotional information can be gleaned without lyrics to spell it out for us." See the link opposite to read the 'official' version on Indie-Music.com.
The album was mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain. Bob is a great mastering engineer who approached the project with sensitivity and care. The artwork was created by photographer and graphic artist Barry McCabe as an elaboration and visual extension of the music, suggesting motifs, atmospheres and feelings associated with the music.
Mark DuBerry is a guitarist and composer / songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. He plays and writes music which is a hybrid of electronic-ambient, progressive rock, classical and jazz-fusion. He has always been drawn to music which combines and blends different genres as he finds this sort of creative fusion the most interesting. Artists like Yes, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Weather Report, The Yellowjackets, David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Brian Eno and Pete Namlook are among his main influences. So he has given his particular style of music the name 'Electro-acoustic ambient rock with a jazz flavour'.
Mark played classical guitar in concert and other venues in and around Dublin in the early years of his career. Later on, he became interested in jazz-fusion guitar and composition and wrote music for jazz big bands and other groups in both London and Dublin. Among his projects at this time, he produced his first CD entitled 'Escalate'. The first track 'Freefall' won an award of merit in the Unisong International Song Contest in 1998. He also released an album of 'New Age music with depth' entitled 'Openings' which was a collaboration with another musician.
Mark was also lead guitarist in a Steely Dan tribute band which played gigs in and around Dublin for a number of years. He is currently concentrating on gigging the material from ‘Head Room’ as well as composing music for his next album project.