2007. We here at Hypnos HQ think this is one of the
nicest and best-est things to have crossed our ears in
quite a while. It's a beautiful, ear-pleasing blend of
relatively "straight" chamber music with just a touch of
A minimalist layer of ambient analog synthesizers with cello, viola, French horn and oboe performed by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic.
"The Marmalade Balloon is the year's ultimate flirtation with subtlety and seductiveness. Existing somewhere between the neo-classical and the ambient, Mico Nonet fashion a world that is hazy and succinct, at times dark and haunting and others playful and inspiring, but always open to personal interpretation. The balance between musicians is gracefully maintained, where neither the electronics nor the strings are ever overly pronounced as to withdraw the listener from the intoxicating, spellbinding trance which The Marmalade Balloon invokes. The future will certainly take this musical act on a variety of different presentations, but with their strong understanding of musical space and development, we're confident that they'll be a favorite for years to come. "
--Jordan Volz, The Silent Ballet
"Once all the synths and sequencers have echoed out and it is time to return to Earth, STAR'S END turns to The Marmalade Balloon (36'42"), a smart, artfully constructed EP by Mico Nonet. Played on conventional chamber instruments (viola, cello, oboe, french horn) plus a well-hidden synthesizer, this work combines the idea of ambient music with the sophisticated sensibilities of the classical quartet. The most difficult part of this undertaking was in directing the virtuosic talents of four seasoned orchestra musicians towards a music that achieves a sustained atmosphere - away from the familiar climax and release of their repertoire. The Marmalade Balloon succeeds in maintaining a gradual coalescence throughout. Somber thematic workings move with deliberate slowness as this group carefully strides towards a sense of quiet musical contemplation. Through a unique intuition, the musicians leave enough room not only for one another, but for silence as well. The result is an incredibly beautiful and elegant music, so fragile that at any moment it may dissolve into thin air."
--Chuck van Zyl, Star's End Ambient Radio