Working under the name Future Loop Foundation, DJ/producer Mark Barrott bounded through the '90s and 2000s creating buoyant tracks of drum'n'bass, mellow ambient, and other forms of bass-happy electronica. Growing up and working primarily in the drearier surroundings of the United Kingdom, a move to the tropical paradise of Ibiza took Barrott's often summery sounds into the realm of fully realized warmth, with work under his own name growing increasingly lighthearted and organic-sounding. Sketches from an Island finds Barrott in a remarkably carefree state, opening with the rubbery basslines and affable nautical vibes of "Baby Come Home." The tune, like so many of the tracks here, is just a few margaritas away from being able to pass for an instrumental to a lost yacht rock track from the early '80s. Elsewhere, playful synthesizer arpeggios mingle with sound effects of a tropical rainforest on "Dr. Nimm's Garden of Intrigue & Delight," a tune that merges Barrott's Balearic foundations with melodies that recall the most inquisitive moments of Krautrock's early exploratory spirit. As the album winds on, Barrott includes moments of tropicalia, soft flamenco guitar, muted disco rhythms, and plenty of his signature bass, though it seems to waft by like a sea breeze now more than it thumped and boomed on past work. The nine tracks of Sketches from an Island present a state of idyllic bliss and still highlight the same ear for colorful sound combinations that made Barrott's earlier work stand out.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas