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MVI - In The Rain Shadow (Self-Released)

6 December 2023

MVI, or Mark Vickness Interconnected, is the new music collective of, as one would expect, Bay Area musician Mark Vickness. The seven member group released their new album earlier this year called In The Rain Shadow, which is a collection of instrumental tracks that combine a number of styles ranging from jazz and classical to progressive rock and folk. The album is a loose concept album inspired by Vickness moving to the desert in 2020, and consequently most of the song titles are named after geological or meteorological terms. The songs are also motivated by the artist’s belief in the connectedness of all human beings, and it’s immediately represented beautifully by how all seven musicians work together in harmony so expertly and effortlessly.

The group wonderfully captures a number of moods, including the peaceful classical-jazz fusion of “Stillness” and the more prog-inspired “The Gorge” which features a fantastic guitar solo. Because nothing here is bombastic or over the top, it can be easy to overlook how deceptively complex the arrangements and playing are on the album, but its understated beauty unfolds more and more under close examination. The perfect example is towards the end with “On the Cliffs of Mohr” which undertakes a tremendous transformation over its duration to something pensive with a trace of melancholy to a full-on joyous celebration. In The Rain Shadow is a testament to the persistence of true positivity in our modern era, and ultimately it’s a truly inspiring musical expression.