Lecturer of Studio Production
Brooklyn-based Mark Marshall a guitarist with years of experience and expertise as a touring and recording artist. His composition projects wield instruments, tape machines, samplers, and microphones in the same way an artist uses paint, charcoal and ink. For Marshall, composition is an experimental adventure.
Marshall has played major music festivals, including Mountain Jam and New Orleans Jazz Fest; toured internationally and recorded on the BBC; performed at both Lincoln Center Outdoors and Lincoln Center Jazz; shared the stage with Phil Lesh and Levon Helm; toured with Sister Sparrow and Amy Helm; and performs regularly as one-half of Fife and Drom, a political blues project. In the studio, he produced Jenna Nicholls Radio Parade record; was both producer/session musician on Jenna Torres’ Thinking with my Heart; stepped in seamlessly to sessions with pop icon Sara Bareillies; and most recently produced, recorded and mixed Abby Ahmad’s Tea with Shadows, a long awaited follow-up to Curriculum, the album which bonded the two in work and in life.
With the support of numerous corporate music endorsements, Marshall spent years writing for Premier Guitar Magazine on guitar technique and philosophy; authored a book on music theory, Practice Makes Progress; created a video series for The Pro Audio Files on recording, mixing, and producing electric guitar; and managed a guitar blog called Anatomy of Guitar Tone.
The vast majority of music Marshall makes is with real instruments, not sample libraries, which includes everything from grand piano, actual mellotrons, analog synths, amplified guitars, and traditional drum kits, which means everything he makes has its own character and doesn’t feel canned or clinical.
Some of Marshall’s compositions time travel by referencing a specific era to evoke feelings of nostalgia or forge place-based associations. He has a deep understanding of compositional and sonic choices: “It’s essential for an 80’s-style song to not only use 80’s motifs but also feel like it was recorded in the ’80s.”
Along with this ability came a broad taste of musical styles: “Instead of mimicking a musical style, my goal is to embody it – similar to, say, method acting. When I’m composing a minimalist piece, I’m not the person who also has a deep knowledge of delta blues (unless, for instance, I want to combine the styles). I live in character. This is what has allowed me to write in a range of genres with an expert’s flair.”
This kind of range in composition allows Marshall, with his abilities and sensibilities, to jump through genres, convincingly, like a chameleon or a speaker of several languages. His “feeling before theory” approach makes room for collaborators to express the needs of a project with either concrete or abstract descriptors (“make it sound more green” or “can it sound like the desert?”) from which Marshall is able to make meaning and music.
Marshall is wildly creative and experimental, but is also skillful collaborator, meeting strict deadlines, taking direction where appropriate and is wholly organized – down to the expansive sound library he’s recently created called Future Relics.