Digital Playlist: Marillion’s Mark Kelly

Who: Mark Kelly, keyboardist for Marillion.
What: The top five albums rocking his iPhone.
Where: England.
Latest Project: The forthcoming Sounds That Can’t Be Made.

Mark Kelly: Sonic connoisseur.
(Photo courtesy of

1. GUILT MACHINE On This Perfect Day — “It’s the only album they’ve done. The singer is Jasper Steverlinck from Arid. It’s got heavy rock with a lot of keyboards in there, which is a difficult thing to get right. It sounds a bit like [drummer Mike] Portnoy getting together with Pete [Trewavas] our bass player on the Transatlantic thing. It’s a really great album, and I’m really enjoying it. There are interesting keyboard parts, which I really appreciate as a keyboard player.”

2. and 3. STEVEN WILSON Grace For Drowning and BLACKFIELD Welcome To My DNA — “I like the fact that he is unashamedly wearing his influences on his sleeve. He’s going, ‘I’m just going to do these songs.’ It borrows a lot from here, there and everywhere, but in a way that’s pleasing. It’s not incredibly original but really well-constructed and with well-recorded solos. His production is always very good. It’s listening to the music for the sake of it being pleasant to listen to. I’m not damning him with faint praise because I do really enjoy listening to him.”

4. YES Close To The Edge — “It’s a classic album. Even now after listening to it for 40 years, I still enjoy it. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s what I grew up with, but there is certain music that if you get into around the ages of 12 and 17, I think that stays with you for life. Those formative years where everything is more intense, and whatever music you’re listening to at that point has special meaning for you. I couldn’t play it to somebody who didn’t grow up with it and say, ‘This is the meaning of life, this is timeless.’ Actually, when you step back from it, the music is very interesting with great compositions, but lyrically, what is he singing about? I have no idea.”

5. VILLAGERS Becoming A Jackal — “It’s quite folkie but with interesting songs. It’s more modern, a bit folk-rock I suppose you would call it. He’s an Irish guy who’s just got a very interesting voice. There’s a lot of music these days where if you took the singer off the song you wouldn’t be able to distinguish which band it is. I find that a little bit upsetting really. There was a period through the ’90s with all these Britpop and indie bands where if you imagined just listening to the music, you wouldn’t be able to identify the band. It shouldn’t be like that. You can tell this guy writes using the piano because there are a lot of really interesting piano melodies. It’s worth a listen.”

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