Album Review + Track by Track: Marlon Bianco guides us through his debut album “Life in Low-fi”

Born on the dark streets of lockdown London, Marlon Bianco brings us his debut offering, Life in Low-fi, a genre spanning 7 track LP, dripping in melancholy. 

We caught up with the man himself, to go through the album track by track. 

“During lockdown, I started writing some very dark, jazzy songs. I used to go around London at night sometimes, just walking around the streets, no people, only lights. I started writing songs with only a few chords and lots of electronics, a bit of synth. I recorded the LP on my Roland keyboard at first, between that and my phone, layering things up myself.”

‘Complotisme’ opens things up with it’s jazzy freedom, all cymbals and percussion, repetitive bass, providing the foundation for the robotic, vocalist synths dancing over the top. A suitably mysterious opener to loosen even the stiffest of hips. 

“This instrumental was born as my attempt to get the vibes of the organ master Korla Pandit. It was a 5 min organ and other instruments improvisation, but Cathy the producer decided to cut in 2 mins worth of jam.”

‘A-lone’ is the story of missed opportunities and regret, locked away from the world and feelings of isolation. 

“Born initially as a country melancholy song but then I changed the style of it only two days before the recording session, this one is about the feeling of being alone in the world in the real sense of the word, but always with the hope/illusion to find someone who loves and comforts you when you’re back home.”

‘We are the summer creatures, we’re so much fun’, the delivery is covered in sadness and irony. An ode to a lost summer, or perhaps a summer which never was. ‘Summer Creatures’, the first single to drop from the EP, is hook after hook. It’s hard to say which is most catchy, the relentless bass or the bouncing synths. It’s an instant win. 

“This is the first song I wrote for this new project, just a few notes. I wanted a nocturnal jazz sort of feeling, I hope I achieved that.”

‘Special Dog’ brings up the energy with straight 4/4 punk sensibilities. 

“My psycho punk attitude towards society and life in general.”

‘Medication Time’ is pure underwater espionage. Squelchy synths, sparse bass, building with each bar, adding a new inquisitive layer as we go. 

“This one is about mental illness pushed into our minds by external issues, such as TV, wars, bad relationships, poverty, etc.”

‘Death Market’ tells us the story of a journey to the place where things come to die. 

Three years ago I went to Africa for my honeymoon and when we were in Zanzibar we entered this huge covered meat market one day. I could smell death. It was horrible. Flies were everywhere, flying from decomposing animals to humans. The song is about that, from someone or something’s point of view that is about to die. Maybe it was me or maybe a horse.

‘Sound Glasses’ takes us to a seaside fairground, with its driving bass and whirling organ.

“I wrote this song a few years back, it used to be called the Seawitch. I always wanted to record it as it has a nice feeling, I don’t know how to explain, jumping from melancholy to upbeat moods, all with only three chords.”

With the exception of ‘Sound Glasses’ (recorded with Monte at their North London studio), the LP was recorded in Margate, with Cathy Lucas. 

“I know Cathy from Vanishing Twin. I know them through a friend, went to see them a couple of times and enjoyed them. I like their retro-futuristic shit, they do cool visuals and use a lot of synths. She started recording and so I asked her to produce the LP. She said yes, so I sent the tracks over to her and then went over to record.”

You can follow Marlon Bianco here.

Life in Low-fi is out now on all the usual platforms. We recommend you have a listen, more than once, maybe even more than twice. 

Article by Duncan Clark

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