Last year Robert Ranaldi aka Man and Things released an impressive eight-song album IN DEEP that experimented with often quirky, off-kilter midi sounds and organic instrumentations. Some of the appeal was the original blend of sounds that you wouldn’t expect to work. Ranaldi is back with a three-song EP entitled From Where The Sun Was. On his Bandcamp page he explains the transitional aspect of the EP. He says From Where The Sun Was represents the current change of musical affairs for Man And Things. Some tracks were retrieved from the IN DEEP period (“Think About It” and “From The Sun”) while “Machine-Easy” marks the new direction into song meaning that he is singing.
The vocals on “Machine-Easy” stick out like a sore thumb. Ranaldi heavily distorts his vocals so much so that it will pierce your ears at high volumes. They sit on top of the music and almost feel completely separated from the music. The music is warm, eccentric and uniquely his own while the vocals could be considered harsh.
If this track is indicative of his future work I think he might benefit from a little bit of tweaking. The great thing about IN DEEP was it felt like a circus of sounds that sound disparate but original. With “Machine-Easy” the vocals are so front and center it was hard for my attention to go elsewhere when he was singing. I hope at the very least Ranaldi will pull back some of the distorted, high frequencies and EQ and compress his vocals in a way in which it will sit comfortably in the mix not outside of it with some of his future releases that have vocals.
“Think About It (Does It Make Any Sense To You?)” is a enjoyable song where Ranaldi fiddles with numerous sounds that come in and out of existence. There isn’t a lot of percussion but there doesn’t need to be. The song works on a number of levels and has a foundation of free jazz within it.
The third track “From The Sun” revolves around a couple of chords that sound like a introduction but ends up being the entire song. I don’t mean that as an adverse statement. It’s an atmospheric, bright ambient piece that while simple felt effective.
I’m looking forward to Ranaldi’s future work. He is a talented artist and like any artist doesn't want to stay stagnant. In the meantime Where The Sun Was is a decent appetizer that will help the wait until his next full length.
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