I have to admit I wasn’t even aware you could get a degree in Music Technology. That’s the degree Mark Hennessey graduated with but not the only field of music he is familiar with. He also has a bit of engineering credit under his belt and that's not very surprising when you listen to his EP The Difference Engine.
Musically, Hennessey takes advantage of guitars, synths, bass and drums. The album contains elements of electronic, rock and even what you might call experimental music. Lyrically, Hennessey explains that the EP has to do with differences of perspective -- how one event or situation can have a profoundly different effect on different people.
We get going with a short Brian Eno-esque track entitled ”A Matter of Extreme Urgency.” Hennessey gets a unique groove going that feels like it is building to something before it starts fading out. The build up is just to the next song “Limited Resources” which contains bluesy lead guitar and electronic percussive elements. The combo works surprisingly well and Hennessey starts to sing. Hennessey has a good voice coated in melancholy and nuance. As the song progresses you can hear shades of a band like Radiohead at points.
“Sentinel” is more upbeat and lively then “Limited Resources.” It’s a solid song, which at times reminded me of Bowie. That being said it could have benefited from a hook. I have ambivalent thoughts about “All the Glory (The Illusion of Control)” which is the most experimental and contains spoken word. I really liked the creative music and wasn't quite as crazy about the spoken word.
He closes with “The Bending of the Light” which revolves around his vocals. He strips the drums from this song, which was a good choice. It’s the most emotionally resonant song on the album.
The Difference Engine has a number of inspired moments and Hennessey is on to something. I have a feeling his best work lies in the future. That being said The Difference Engine is an impressive work all on its own.
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