Photo courtesy of Blackest Ever Black
soundtracked my morning with a single song.
In January, the long-running, always exploratory project of Carrboro experimental impresario Ryan Martin will issue This Is Always Where You’ve Lived
, his second album for the great Blackest Ever Black
. The eight-minute “Memorize Them Well”
is the premiere cut from that record, and its slowly fluctuating synthesizer hum and beat-machine plod hang perfectly between a lurid nightmare and a sweet dream.
It’s like ambient music with an undercurrent of anxiety issues, the soft tones and pillow-top rhythm undercutting an underlying capillary of squelch and distortion. Think Pantha du Prince at the wrong speed or Christian Fennesz with a simpler toolkit. This morning, I listened to “Memorize Them Well” eight times before I finally snapped out of my reverie and realized it’s all I’d heard during the last hour.
I’ve liked a lot of Martin’s music before, from the savage blasts of his much-missed duo with Chuck Johnson, Oh My God I Just Had the Most Amazing Year, to the fragmented pearls of his previous Secret Boyfriend output. But “Memorize Them Well” finds and fully realizes its liminal electronic space—at the intersection of consonance and dissonance, drone and noise, ease and unease—so well that it suggests an upgraded nuance for Martin's music.
OK, I’m going to get back to listening to it now.