Saturday, February 2, 2013

Black Marble Are A Different Arrangement

There's being lost in the past and then there's being lost in the past and that's where Black Marble fit in. These guys are so absorbed and obsessed with early synthpop that you would swear on your mother's life that their album A Different Arrangement was recorded in 1982 when the idea of a sequencer was the most windswept and exotic idea in recorded music history. As on might expect as a result, Black Marble are a raw, minimal, cold, and harsh synthpop group who make early recordings by OMD sound like 128 track digital recordings. They're depressingly impressive and the songs, while sounding firmly in touch with their inner Teutonic keyboard terrors, are surprisingly catchy.

Black Marble are so detached and so rooted in analog sounds that I'm very hesitant in believing that A Different Arrangement was recorded last year. It's too raw, to unpolished, at times almost more Joy Division than Joy Division and more synthetic than the Human League could ever hope to be. It's simply awesome stuff that's a throwback to when sounds like this were new and unexplored and much of A Different Arrangement feels and sounds like Black Marble are learning how all this electronic stuff works. In truth it's probably two dudes on Mac's and Ipad's recording while watching Big Bang Theory and eating pizza but it certainly feels old. It's funny and impressive how technology progresses and how someone today can intentionally sound as bad groups did in 1980. All that being said, and logic aside, I really, really like A Different Arrangement . It's brokenhearted detachment, it's sterile, cold, and minimalistic production just doesn't care what it sounds or feels like and that purity and honesty make A Different Arrangement awesome.

Synthpop has come a long, long way since the heady days of 1980. Yet, it's nice to know that despite the progress made technologically that the songs, albums, and bands from those early days are still held in such high regard. Black Marble are a living tribute to those times and A Different Arrangement is truly different today because it's a tarnished look back and not something sparkly and optimistic. This is a grim and gray record no matter how hard it tries to be happy and that makes me smile.

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