Boomkat Product Review:
Black Marble release their second full-length, It’s Immaterial, their first for Ghostly.
"It’s Immaterial follows up their EP Weight Against the Door (Hardly Art/January 17, 2012) and highly acclaimed debut full-length A Di¬erent Arrangement. Still featuring Stewart at the helm along with select collaborators as supplementation, the band’s recent shift in locale from East Coast to West Coast lends a great deal to the overall feel of the new album. The light and dark elements of shadows. The salt and sting of evening’s high tide sea spray. The crunch of fallen leaves into the sweet stink of overheated orange blossoms. A beautiful thing left on a shelf too high to maintain. The general mood is that of creating something new, but going back in time to do it. Like attempting to flesh out a song that you woke up humming but can’t find, because it doesn’t exist yet.
With the end of the East Coast chapter of Stewart’s life on the horizon, It’s Immaterial was recorded in a period of mental and physical transition. Trapped between spaces and unable to move on until the snow globe flurry of ideas floating around him settled just right, It’s Immaterial is soaring and muted all at once. A collection of songs pieced together from perfect seeming snippets heard while passing open doors. A framework in which your imagination creates its own specific version of what you’ve been dying to hear but didn’t have a way to describe. That song that was put on a mixtape for you and played over and over, but wasn’t labeled, so never fully had or found.
With both early releases the band followed a familiar path stomped down in the late 70s and all throughout the 80s by bands whose sound and DIY ethics paved the way for other likeminded artists with little formal training or funding to make their own contributions to the genre. Pulling from the pre-“Simply Irresistible” days of early Robert Palmer and first wave pioneers such as Silicon Teens, Iron Curtain, Lives of Angels, and Solid Space, Black Marble dialed in on a clear understanding of its own specific sound, showcased most clearly on this new release with Stewart becoming more comfortable in being clear with what he’s trying to say, both subjectively, in terms of the stories he’s telling and the things he’s willing to talk about, and objectively in terms of the lyrics and upfront vocals, while still experimenting with holding things back to produce a sound more claustrophobic and immediate.
The first songs written for the album, “Frisk,” and “Woods” are good examples of the nervous energy felt throughout. “Walk all night/the county had to let me go/Walk all night/I was a force they could not hold,” Stewart sings at the opening of “Frisk.” He closes the sentiment out with this line at the end of “Woods” - “Why did you come right out/Why did you come right out/Why did you come right out/Say what’s on my mind? It’s Immaterial is musically different in terms of distance compared to A Di¬erent Arrangement in the sense that where the songs featured on their debut full-length seemed to hiss from a vent in the floor, the new tracks seem to be coming from the next room. Written, recorded, mixed, and performed entirely by Stewart, the new songs are the unified vision of one person’s attempt to patchwork together bits of vapor, the most subtle gleanings of preference, and make one whole new thing that’s an atmospheric continuation of its parts. An endless drive in the passenger seat of a car while listening to everything you’ve ever loved, but lasting only 40 minutes."