Since debuting in 2003 with 'Under Wires and Searchlights', Manchester's Marconi Union have forged their own path with a succession of strong albums and carefully selected live performances and a steadily growing audience worldwide. All of this despite barely uttering a word to the press. Their reputation has swollen to the point where their album 'A Lost Connection' hit the upper echelons of The Sunday Times' Top 100 Albums of 2010, and where praise flowed from Uncut ("an act whose music slinks stealthily around the listener"), The Guardian ("gorgeous") and US radio show Echoes ("poetic and almost classical"). Like their previous albums 'Distance', 'A Lost Connection' and 'Tokyo', their new album 'Beautifully Falling Apart' is inspired by a love of visual concepts. This time, the focus fell on the contrast between the serene beauty of an image and the underlying harsh reality. As they state: "Picture the scene: late at night a gang of road workers work under floodlights at the side of the motorway. One uses an angle grinder to cut stone. He is lit from behind and surrounded by a shower of sparks and shadows. In that moment you only see the striking beauty of the image and forget about the hard, dangerous and dirty job he's doing. Sometimes, things beautifully fall apart." Recorded before the recruitment of third member Duncan Meadows, the album's unifying concept emerged early on. The compositions emerged faster than normal, showcasing the duo's love of organic sound. As a whole, however, 'Beautifully Falling Apart' is a more textural piece when compared with the band's prior work. "We wanted to differentiate this from our normal recorded output it's a step sideways rather than the follow-up to 'A Lost Connection'." The album's subtitle 'Ambient Transmissions Vol. 1' was selected to emphasise that disconnect. But will it be part of an ongoing series? "I think there will be," says Talbot, his voice immediately brightening in tone. "But it won't necessarily be a series that has stylistic continuity." Anyone who has seen MU live in the past couple of years will no doubt have been struck by the sight of them playing in almost total darkness lit by the glow from slowly transforming video paintings to create a stunning immersive experience. The video paintings are the work of renowned artist Colin Lawson who has previously published a book of paintings inspired by 'A Lost Connection'. That link will be reprised with the publication of his new book 'Beautifully Falling Apart' which again comprises pictures inspired by the album.