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Song Samples / Digital Downloads
Memory Care Unit is a long-form offering of poignant, isolationist machine music from Secret Boyfriend. Eschewing the cryptic and compact song-sketches that characterized his 2013 LP This Is Always Where You've Lived (BLACKEST 023LP), Ryan Martin instead guides listeners through vast interior topographies and nerve-damaged ambiences that comfort and deceive like memory itself. Beginning with "The Singing Bile" -- minimal synth submerged and subjected to an almost oceanic pressure -- the tracks are mostly crude, extended live improvisations, recorded straight to tape. Martin's loose intention was to subtract himself from proceedings and "let the music play itself," but the erasure is not quite complete; on the contrary, each piece feels distinctly authored, and charged with personal significance. The atrophying loops of "Memorize Them Well" broach the elegiac grandeur of Gas and William Basinski, while "Paean delle Palme" summons E.A.R., Af Ursin, and the clammy, opioid exoticism of :zoviet*france:*'s Just an Illusion. The album is largely instrumental, but there are two weighty exceptions: the sprawling, drumbox-driven space blues of "Little Jammy Centre" and the guileless yearning of "Stripping At The Nail." This is electronic pop undressed, unraveled, and mapped onto the infinite wave. Expansive and enveloping, Memory Care Unit's offering of comfort and refuge is difficult to resist. But this amniotic idyll is frayed and haunted at its edges, and ultimately treacherous. The return to innocence it promises may be possible, but the price is separation, alienation, and loss. Housed in full-color reverse-board sleeve with printed inner sleeve. Includes MP3/FLAC download code.