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Video Premiere: Michael RJ Saalman – “Ripe Hymns”

By ; August 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM 

Michael RJ Saalman

Sacramento avant-pop auteur Michael RJ Saalman exists in a very insular world.  Or at least, it appears that he does.  His music is about as detached from any one genre as you can get, and the sounds and rhythms that he creates do not adhere to any known set of musical guidelines.  His music seems to be very stream-of-conscious oriented, but not in a fragmented way, more so in a wide-eyed sense of discovery manner – with each instrument willing to give up the ghost in the pursuit of some higher compositional force.  Utilizing a host of synths, guitars, and atypical percussion, Saalman creates vivid and intrinsically innovative pop music, but even that description fails to completely capture the often indecipherable way in which he approaches music.

As a fixture in bands like Biosexual, Pregnant, and Afternoon, he has used his unique sense of rhythmic construction in the furtherance of his own inventive musical ends – though always at the service of his fellow musical conspirators.  By working within a large collection of northern California experimental musicians, Saalman has expanded and evolved his own sound, though thankfully not at the expense of any of his quizzical and often atypical methods of recording.  And we are soon to be privy to a new collection of tracks from the multi-instrumentalist, as he will release a new cassette called Ripe Hymns for DIY label Crash Symbols sometime in the near future.

For the video to the title track from that release, Saalman has combined his love for synth-based rhythms with abrupt beat changes and a wealth of visual oddities. So, par for the course, really.  The track opens with slowly arpeggio’d synths, subtle electronic flourishes, and slight skittering percussion before exploding outward, dropping a thick electronic beat that bathes in oscillating synths and a groove that will carry you for miles.  The video pairs coarse, hand drawn animation with bursts of distorted live-action clips, with various colors saturating the images, giving the whole affair a swirling psych atmosphere.

Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere the video for the title track from Michael RJ Saalman’s upcoming Crash Symbols cassette release, Ripe Hymns.


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