Secret Boyfriend - Memory Care Unit

by Brian Lange. Rating:7 Release Date:2016-01-10

Memory Care Unit could very well have been a dronier, poor man’s version of Selected Ambient Works II. However, though there is not a lot of variance on each individual track, this is an intriguing record. Purely instrumental, apart from the occasional echoy voice that seeps through in the background, it works as a 'soundtrack'.

A steady flow of this pulsating fluid changes ever so subtly over the course of each track. Reminiscent of the recordings of CUTS, Geoff Barrow’s foray outside of Portishead, Secret Boyfriend provides listeners with a mixture of tracks that range from maddening deep drones to underscores with a synthy ambiance apropos to visits to new galaxies. If only space could speak, perhaps this record would provide you with an accompanying score to such a journey. 

It’s easy to group this into the plethora of self-produced ambient music out there, but this is a sophistication to this record.  It doesn’t come across as sounding like the scores of digital ambient wannabes, using existing sounds and modifying them into something familiar by way of their laptops.  The sounds definitely feel more analog and thus come across as more tactile.  It’s hard to imagine going to a show to hear this sort of work, but there is still something that holds to the subtlety of having three to four minute songs that just exist as simple pieces. 

As recipients of the coveted Michelin Stars will tell you, success is often measured in keeping things simple. Unnecessary clutter will just harm your chances.  Applying that to music is no different.  The sounds may be simple and sometimes monotonous, but Secret Boyfriend has the right idea.  Keep it simple. 

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