Saturday, May 30, 2015

Release of the Day: Marc Merza - Selective Memory 7"

It's easy to confuse something innocuous with something relaxing or meditative. In music, there's an underlying assumption that if a piece works well as a backdrop then it is formless and vapid. In reality, the piece may simply wear many hats, so to speak. Take a trip to your local new age occult shop and you'll most likely see someone in loose-fitting robes that doesn't accept payment but does accept mandatory donations. In the background almost one hundred percent of the time is cringe-worthy smoooooooth jazz or theremin. For many people that smoke-and-mirrors-spirituality is representative of new age, drone, and ambient music all in one, but the truth is much heavier. Drone is profound as it is elusive. Drone is introspective as it is liberating. Drone is alchemy. Drone is exorcism.

Marc Merza wrote the two songs that comprise his Selective Memory 7" "during a very difficult time in [his] life." Where the first gathers power through melancholy tension, the second plucks a succession of single notes, at once a wind-up music box and a cradling mother. Together, the two become the give-and-take of constraint and respite. They're also illusory and perhaps a little conniving: as pleasant as the record is, there's turbulence beneath the surface. Marc, though more than proficient at driving home a single idea, dots his pieces with unrest, making each sequential listen a little more rewarding.

This is the purification process, the tempering of the spirit, the honing of the mind. This is a return to when things were better, though that seems so impossibly long ago.

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