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Black Marble - Bigger Than Life

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Bigger Than Life

Black Marble

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With each Black Marble album, Chris Stewart's music has gotten warmer and nearer to his listeners. On It's Immaterial, his melodies grew bigger and sweeter while holding onto the quintessential aloofness of his coldwave and synth-pop influences. The gradual thaw of Black Marble's music quickens on Bigger Than Life, Stewart's Sacred Bones debut. Where his previous album was literally a departure -- he wrote it in Brooklyn while planning his escape to Los Angeles -- this one is an arrival that celebrates his new life in the City of Angels. Since Stewart wrote and recorded all of the album on his own, it could have easily sounded cloistered, but there's a feeling of reaching out on Bigger Than Life that makes it special within Black Marble's body of work. As a singer and musician, Stewart sounds more confident and more vulnerable than ever. Without the security blankets of echo and reverb that cloaked his vocals on his previous releases, his voice rings out when he sings "I'm just living more" on the title track and on "Call," the album's closing wish for intimacy. There's a greater clarity to Bigger Than Life's sound as well, relatively speaking -- on songs like "Daily Driver," the hazy twinkle of his analog synths calls to mind sunbeams fighting their way through smog and glass. Stewart also brings his audience closer with bittersweet, deceptively simple songwriting. On the standout "One Eye Open," the story of a restless tightrope walker echoes the way Stewart teeters between intimacy and distance throughout the album. Similarly, "Grey Eyeliner" plays like a Craigslist missed connection set to song, hovering between mystery and approachability with a lilt that recalls the Magnetic Fields. Stewart is at the peak of his powers on "Feels," where the oddly poignant hook "I used to have a radio show" expresses the need for connection that makes up the heart of Bigger Than Life. His choice to reveal more and explore a feeling of belonging instead of sticking with the trope of the tortured, isolated artiste is one that pays off richly: With its surprising warmth and immediacy, Bigger Than Life is some of Black Marble's most affecting music. ~ Heather Phares

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Bigger Than Life

Black Marble

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1
Never Tell 00:04:16

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

2
One Eye Open 00:04:43

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

3
Daily Driver 00:03:54

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

4
Feels 00:04:42

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

5
The Usual 00:01:34

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

6
Grey Eyeliner 00:03:32

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

7
Bigger Than Life 00:03:53

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

8
Private Show 00:04:41

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

9
Shoulder 00:04:11

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

10
Hit Show 00:01:36

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

11
Call 00:03:42

Chris Stewart, Mixer - Black Marble, Artist, MainArtist - Ben Greenberg, Mixer

2019 Sacred Bones Records 2019 Black Marble under exclusive license to Sacred Bones Records

Album Description

With each Black Marble album, Chris Stewart's music has gotten warmer and nearer to his listeners. On It's Immaterial, his melodies grew bigger and sweeter while holding onto the quintessential aloofness of his coldwave and synth-pop influences. The gradual thaw of Black Marble's music quickens on Bigger Than Life, Stewart's Sacred Bones debut. Where his previous album was literally a departure -- he wrote it in Brooklyn while planning his escape to Los Angeles -- this one is an arrival that celebrates his new life in the City of Angels. Since Stewart wrote and recorded all of the album on his own, it could have easily sounded cloistered, but there's a feeling of reaching out on Bigger Than Life that makes it special within Black Marble's body of work. As a singer and musician, Stewart sounds more confident and more vulnerable than ever. Without the security blankets of echo and reverb that cloaked his vocals on his previous releases, his voice rings out when he sings "I'm just living more" on the title track and on "Call," the album's closing wish for intimacy. There's a greater clarity to Bigger Than Life's sound as well, relatively speaking -- on songs like "Daily Driver," the hazy twinkle of his analog synths calls to mind sunbeams fighting their way through smog and glass. Stewart also brings his audience closer with bittersweet, deceptively simple songwriting. On the standout "One Eye Open," the story of a restless tightrope walker echoes the way Stewart teeters between intimacy and distance throughout the album. Similarly, "Grey Eyeliner" plays like a Craigslist missed connection set to song, hovering between mystery and approachability with a lilt that recalls the Magnetic Fields. Stewart is at the peak of his powers on "Feels," where the oddly poignant hook "I used to have a radio show" expresses the need for connection that makes up the heart of Bigger Than Life. His choice to reveal more and explore a feeling of belonging instead of sticking with the trope of the tortured, isolated artiste is one that pays off richly: With its surprising warmth and immediacy, Bigger Than Life is some of Black Marble's most affecting music. ~ Heather Phares

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By Black Marble
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Feels Black Marble

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