I was reading about Sleeping In My Kitchen: A Diary from Minneapolis by Eli Ruffer and felt like I was reading about my own past. Albeit this reality was over fifteen years ago at this point but the story is almost identical. He states, “I just moved back to Chicago after living in Minneapolis for my first two years out of college. Upon arriving in Chicago, I ventured to my parents' echoey basement to record some songs from the last two years. These songs deal directly with my struggles and triumphs as I transitioned from youth to adulthood - constantly asking myself how to make the most of life.” Although I went back to Crystal Lake, Il and to a different college I went to my mom’s basement to record.
Musically, there are a lot of differences. Sleeping In My Kitchen: A Diary from Minneapolis is a lo-fi recording revolving around guitar and vocals. The performances all seem to be live to my ears.
The EP opens with “A Child's First Grief” which is a somber reflection like most of the other songs on the album. Ruffer picks a simple guitar melody and poetically laments for the most part. It’s pretty and melancholy and doesn't really go anywhere past that.
Up next is “Laughing Falls.” This song didn’t feel as somber. The song is more folk infused in a traditional way. Some of the transitions have a bluesy/jazz feel to them. “It’s Dinnertime” actually made me laugh. The whole thing about drinking a beer provided some levity to the song. Plus the line about chicken fingers and that’s it’s dinner time not Twitter time was also chuckle worthy.
“Where I'm Going” is a little brighter than everything that came before. I liked the vocal melody and late ’60s folk feel to the song. The energy keeps up with “The Wine Song” while “Songs for a Fleeting Night (1 & 2)” is a folk inspired tune that goes from intimate to lively. He closes with the very lo-fi but energy infused “I'm a Handsome Young Man.”
I have to admit at some point I’d love to hear more instrumentation and better audio quality recordings. On that note these songs sound solid with a typical lo-fi home recording as well.
Time is a lumbering beast and waits for no one. Soon enough Ruffer will be my age and there will be another young man recording music in his parent’s basement. These types of releases are timestamps that the artist himself can look back which should resurrect an idea of who they used to be. We all change over time but a recording captures who we were in that moment. That’s worth something.
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