Early releases often show us something essential about an artist - unique traits that may become obscured on later creations. Confidently displaying himself at his most vulnerable beginnings Mark Shreeve submitted Thoughts of War (59'18") - his unforgettable first LP release which in 1981 launched the Uniton Records label out of Norway while elevating this youthful UK synthesist to a world stage. Having honed his skills on cassette releases such as Embryo, Phantom and Ursa Major we hear Shreeve throughout Thoughts of War building on all he learned in producing those inceptive tapes atop a foundation of the 1970s Spacemusic progenitors Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. From still midnights and dungeon synth soundscapes on up to its captivating sequencer dreams, dancing patterns and echoing analogue lead lines this aspiring work could only be made by one truly and newly in love with the sounds, textures, atmospheres and instruments of the previous decade's Kosmische Musik movement. This era's cool sonic complexes and potent poetics of the present summoned realizations that moved with the night while delivering us back to ourselves. Pointing to endless future possibilities this release placed Shreeve well along a fascinating path of expression which would remain relevant across decades - serving and inspiring a great many listeners and fellow musicians alike. Shreeve did roam far and wide of this starting point, but from the commercial, pop and instrumental, on to the furthest reaches of the cosmos with Redshift and Arc Shreeve always revealed a searching and personal strength and spirit in his efforts. An understanding of the ideas and moods music can conjure courses through every note or tone he ever called forth. We know that Mark Shreeve will no longer add to the remarkable legacy of albums and concerts he granted us over the years. It is now left up to us, his many followers and fans, to locate the distant star that guided him so well, to become better players and listeners, and set off towards it too.
Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END - 23 November 2023