NOTE: most of our copies have slight corner dings, visible in the product photo.
There’s a body of water in the woods near Carrboro. Dappled light on the trail leads you to it. Crunch of leaves underfoot. A river feeds the swimming hole where people plunge, naked and alive. On a chair you sit reminiscing about the future. After a dip, you lay on a big smooth rock - let the sun bake you dry. Then you walk further into the woods.
Like coming upon some keyboardists situated at the mouth of a cave, the entreaties on this record are calming but enigmatic, tinged with melancholy and reflection. Recurring motifs are given room to grow—there’s much space, and the progressions percolate, an auditory mapping of emotional crevices. Sentimentalism given a rougher edge. It lures you in; an orb appears, bright and buzzing. It motions for you to continue. As you do, a fragrance floats through the cave and fills your psyche, like a thousand roses hidden in the dark.
On 𝐾𝑒𝑦𝑏𝑜𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑆𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑉𝑜𝑙. 𝐼, MARV imbues analog subtractive and FM synthesis with a distinct physicality. Dub studio techniques and rigorously hand-played performances create an 'environmental' keyboard masterpiece strongly connected to the lineage of 1970s-80s private press ambient and electronic recordings-- but elegantly modern sound design and production methods center the album in the present day. A timeless quality pervades 𝐾𝑒𝑦𝑏𝑜𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑆𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑉𝑜𝑙. 𝐼, allowing for easy repeats, marinating the subconscious ache of loss with a dreamily resolute hope.
Our take: North Carolina synth duo Marv is back with their second vinyl release, and if you loved the spaced-out kosmiche bliss of their first album, you’re bound to love Keyboard Suite I too. As before, Marv’s music has a huge sense of space, with a wide-open mix that makes the lush synth sounds seem like they’re ping-ponging across the limitless vastness of space. While that sound is still the foundation of Marv’s music, there’s more melody on Keyboard Suite I, with pulses of tone sometimes coalescing into gentle melodies. While some passages are new age-y, mostly those melodies remind me of the gentlest, most delicate classical music, like Erik Satie. This is particularly true of “Tokyo TX,” the longest track on the record at eight and a half minutes and my favorite for its particularly melodic bent. Keyboard Suite I comes to us via the Enmossed label, which means it’s housed in beautiful silk-screened packaging with a debossed seed paper insert. It’s as much a joy to look at as it is to listen to.