Clean, atmospheric, drifting synth music. Across For Show delivers a series of cinematic soundscapes where silky electronic strains drift like early mists across minimal sonic vistas. This album might be considered a form of melodic ambience particularly as the gentler passages unfold in simple patterns of layered threads, hazy drones and airy pads filling out the suggested space. That said, the beauty of the music mostly lies in the development of subtle themes that gradually permeate the consciousness, repeating and delicately evolving. In places discordant tones well up among the dominant serenity of shadowy harmonies, further darkening the mood. For the most part the music is beatless and frequently floatational, however, the album uncharacteristically opens with a languid programmed groove of light sibilances and distantly tribal scattered hits - all subsequent tracks essentially percussion free.
Across For Show comes with a sleeve of bright celestial blue - crisp tones laid out in smooth gradation, lighter areas at the edges. Titles and information are the only disturbances to this seemingly infinite backdrop - the front cover having a bold horizontal band of deeper blue bisecting its width. On the reverse this band continues, track titles neatly packed inside alongside thanks and website information. The back of the package contains similar details only here freely expanded across the same blue gradation as the front cover.
Rik Maclean has been recording his personal chilled ambient music under the name Mara's Torment for well over a decade now. Across For Show, was originally released as the second CD by Mara's Torment back in 1999, now on the tenth anniversary of that event the album has been re-issued through Vir Unis' well established AtmoWorks label. Available in both mp3 and CD format through AtmoWorks, promotional material explains that Across For Show was initially "produced over a two month stretch of depression-induced creativity the original recordings were pulled at the last minute before production and replaced with a more upbeat collection of work." This current delivery presents the disc the way it was meant to be heard, a dark journey through ambient spaces and secret locations.