Just as a gesture alone, you have to love what Marc Lowe has done here. Solidarity isn’t limited to military action or financial sanctions, everyone can give up their time and make a statement in their own way, musicians perhaps more easily than most. But being as this is also a music review site, I must also look at things critically, just because, well, that is what I do and I’m sure that Marc wouldn’t want me to just give things a free pass based on context alone.
We know from Marc’s previous work, particularly the brilliantly experimental album The Way Out Is In, that this will be no ordinary track and indeed it is not. Nobody Wins (Pray For Ukraine) is a meditative piece, one built of droning atmospherics and brooding, extended notes, of dark ambience and looming threats hanging in the near distance. And in doing so it perfectly captures the feeling of finding yourself on the edge of a war that you know will soon engulf your home, your family, your community, your country.
And across this bruised soundscape he threads and fuses shards of sonics, slivers of guitar and random beats, perhaps representing the sound of shelling in the distance or the pangs of anxiety rising from within as you wait for this long, dark night to break into something more real and more terrifying.
It is an improvised piece, one which started life with a different intention but which captures the mood succinctly, one that we the listener can only begin to imagine but which this music evokes perfectly. It rises up from a gentle ambience into a threatening dirge then turns into a melancholic lament before stepping deftly through fractured, industrial soundscapes, the sound of normality and real-life being subsumed by forces beyond our control.
And then the music drifts out, floating away on the wind, unresolved and unwritten, just as the future of Ukraine, as I write this, also remains unresolved and unwritten.