During the years of bedroom lo-fi work that surged across the internet through forums and music clubs of the underground world, Black Marble has appeared again and again for his ability to create beauty through a synth. His work that is ultimately simple, but memorable and catchy is a one-man machine drum-machine and bass that works to tightly grasp a crisp, newer and poppy sound on Bigger Than Life.
The sound overall is familiar; this is Black Marble at the core with the synth chords that spawn a dirty foundation and the string work that orchestrates bliss. But something is much different from the previous releases, the vocals have changed and are now fresh with less of a fog that surrounds them. The entire record actually has more of this clairvoyance that at times, can almost illustrate a new atmosphere even if unintentional. No matter the time, Bigger Than Life is the quicker-paced younger brother to the more sluggish, almost pained work of It’s Immaterial that spawned an initial love for Black Marble.
But as the opening track of “Never Tell” breaks the Earth, the hip new-age 80’s soundtrack moves into the frame just as it had before. With these pushes of snappy snares and punchy bass that acts as the muscle to the track which creates flesh. Even if they are shifted for better or for worse, the change is welcome and can better distinguish a tone within the record. Bigger Than Life is still an independent and one-man-band sound under the wings of cracked harmony, but now there is an expectation that follows the record and is delivered perfectly.
With Black Marble, there are now these fast-paced, creative race tracks that speed along with the listener as they sit in tandem through the 40-minute journey. Surrounded by a cascading wall of neon lights and darkened streets, Bigger Than Life uses “One Eye Open” to paint a futuristic but still nostalgic sound. Somehow coinciding with raw power and invoking the energy that protrudes from every second. The 11-tracks here are distant from each other and with the exception of two tracks, have much longer run-times than previous works. Each track is lively and seems to be built for this club setting where the tracks can be mixed in with the towering crowds of people and the rhythm is what matters.
As Black Marble dives deeper and deeper into Bigger Than Life, the record continues to harness these surprises with interlude styled tracks like “The Usual” and “Hit Show” which are instrumental segues that are calm but never displaced. Everything on Bigger Than Life appears from reason and the lucid dreams that become these interludes better prove a progressive stance towards ambiance and setting-building.
With a move into the future, Black Marble never strays too far from the past and keeps a formula that works well. It is adventurous, but never drags the listener too far out of the realm of possibility as everything clicks into place once more before falling back into the concrete realities.