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Memorybell
Somnolent
Hidden Shoal Recordings

Amnesia (from Greek, meaning "forgetfulness"; from α- (a-), meaning "without", and μνησιζ (mnesis), meaning "memory"), also known as amnesic syndrome, is a deficit in memory caused by brain damage, disease, or psychological trauma. Amnesia can also be caused temporarily by the use of various sedatives and hypnotic drugs. Essentially, amnesia is loss of memory. The memory can be either wholly or partially lost due to the extent of damage that was caused. There are two main types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquired before a particular date, usually the date of an accident or operation. In some cases the memory loss can extend back decades, while in others the person may lose only a few months of memory. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to transfer new information from the short-term store into the long-term store. People with this type of amnesia cannot remember things for long periods of time. These two types are not mutually exclusive. Both can occur within a patient at one time. (Wikipedia)

Memorybell is the ambient project of piano minimalist Grant Hazard Outerbridge of Denver, Colorado. "Somnolent" is a streamed taster off his debut album, Obsolete which will appear in early June (due out on the 2nd June). So, what's the deal about amnesia then? Well, as the press sheet states: 'In February 2014, Outerbridge awoke in a hospital with no memory of how he had arrived. He was diagnosed with transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories.' Anyway, Outerbridge tried to return to his music again and the the story continues: 'When he returned to the piano, Outerbridge found his previous compositions sounded garish. He pared them down to their essence and, along with new, more spacious material, constructed a set of variegated and subtle songs that explore the interplay between dissonance and silence.' Memorybell was born.

Outerbridge has recorded Obsolete 'live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones' and he has been concerned with and focused on 'exploring the spaces between notes as the notes themselves, giving each song room to breathe and encouraging the ear to wander.' Yes, air, loads of air, room to breath, as well as enough room and space to listen are the main points or keys to understand and to enter the musical world of Memorybell. The seven minute (+) long "Somnolent" is a lingering, slowbreathing composition that flows slowly out of the speakers through your room (alternatively: out of your headphones, straight into your head and mind...). It feels like a pleasant sleeping pill. Not that it makes you instantly sleepy or drowsy. It just makes you comfortably relaxed. In a good way. I'm looking forward to check out the rest of Obsolete. Outerbridge's compositions or performance doesn't sound or feel obsolete.

Copyright © 2016 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Memorybell article/review: Obsolete.

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