Meanwhile, on the Other Side of the World.... Fulfillment
Marv Ellis' talent as a musician is only eclipsed by his skill as an orator. Shadows Mean Light articulates simple truths that should be at the forefront of all honest expression, but aren't. The magic evidenced in this album comes from Ellis' dulcet tones which tell you what has been on the tip of your tongue all along. Long-time fans of Ellis' works will no doubt be unsurprised by the erudition with which he speaks: he manages to write an album which simultaneously calls us out on our idiosyncrasies, assures us that they are what make us of worth and, in doing so, encourages every person who is willing, to listen. The message is simple, but Ellis' delivery is rich, visceral and wholesome.
His collaborative work has never been more polished and balanced, Both Hats (feat. MC Metric) being a particular highlight on the album. Ellis and MC Metric are by no means strangers, but that sublime tune sets the standard for the rest of the "feat." songs.
marvellis.com explains that Ellis 'represents the final stages of Hip-hop’s growth across North America'. Given the eclectic, genre-defying style which Shadows Mean Light professes, I believe it. Free of pretension, Ellis samples freely and shows that no culture, genre, decade or instrument is safe from a musician who is unafraid to go there.
There are a plethora of artist who make me want to sing their songs. To whom listening, makes me feel connected to a wider audience. There is only one Marv Ellis, and he makes me want to sing my own songs, put pen to paper and write the book I've been keeping in my head, enjoy my own company and step inwards.
Both Hats (feat. MC Metric) - The strings on this track give me pause. The lyrics are the real reward though. Best track on the album, in my humble opinion.
Alone Time - This one really hit home for me. There is a beautiful narrative within this track, marrying the games we play as children with the ways in which we cope and create as adults.
Do You Love You - I'm tempted to say that this track encompasses the most important message that resonates throughout all of Ellis' work: love yourself. You cannot loves others, nor love what you create before you love yourself. Never before has he articulated it so poignantly though.
Hello Happy - And then Marv went and sampled Sananda Maitreya (Terence Trent D'Arby) and I was brought back to the man who first encouraged me to sing. The musician who I chose without suggestion or interference. The synchronicity is humbling and frightening. Elucidating: my first though was "how can Marv Ellis get what I'm about so clearly?" Now I'm thinking "Maybe he just gets all of us".