Black Marble | Bigger Than Life | Sacred Bones Records
Release Date: 25 October, 2019
Feature Image: Black Marble by Ashley Leahy
With his iconic love for analog equipment and a recent move to Los Angeles, American musician Chris Stewart, known under his coldwave, synth-pop moniker Black Marble, returns with his third studio album ‘Bigger Than Life‘ – an embrace of an objective reality, an experience built from the cold sunlit truth of one’s surroundings not fashioned necessarily by a focus on the individual, but a creation that comes from the individual as part of the whole. Seeing things as they are and the role one plays within communities larger than ourselves – ‘Bigger Than Life’ shines with the intention, and affectionate execution, of being able to find a brightness in the tumultuous time we live in.
‘One Eye Open’ awakens with a bubbly synth, singing a lyrical pattern in the upbeat; a saccharine 8-bit melody cradled with a steady beat as the self-assured percussion drives the track into a sanguine dance. Stewart’s vocals encompass Black Marble’s post-punk, influence; low in tone and glittering with emotive nostalgia amongst his loving synths, companions in a personal reflection. Shimmering with the colours of vibrant late nights in the firefly lights of a towering city – synths rush past, driven and kind, in a swirl of lucid immersion.
A synthesizer bloom opens ‘Feels’, sweetened arpeggios dancing amongst the determined claps in progression and dotted with playful coldwave textures. Layered melodies and percussive embrace sculpts an animated soundscape, with a signature tinge of 80’s New Order-esque catchy hooks in Stewart’s lyrics – boasting a honeyed melancholy in synth-pop bliss. A cold sunlight twinkles in the track, bright and buoyant yet introspective with the glowing hue of loneliness sleeping in Stewart’s words.
The closing track of the album ‘Call’ opens with a doting, affectionate melody; a spirited, self-assured beat spilling vivid 80’s tones in moody timbres; yearning, the compassion of a nostalgic love song seeping melancholia yet still dotted with a bright, hopeful tone. Increasing in tempo as the track progresses, the melodies sing sweet in a swaying dance – ‘Call’ is a rosy blush, harmonious in intimacy and energy.
‘Bigger Than Life’ showcases a harmony between a cold-light melancholia and a vivid, passionate luminosity; Stewart’s reflective nostalgia studded as stars in a tender twilight atmosphere exhibits a growth in Black Marble’s sound, with a new writing and recording process still staying true to an organic sound while remaining contemporary and unique.