“You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative” – Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.
mt. marcy’s naked lunch ep is a wavy, fragmented and somewhat sporadic lo-fi mix of tracks. It lacks coherency and that’s on purpose. If you’ve ever read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, you know the novel was written so that you can read it in any order because of the structure of loosely connected vignettes. Makes sense now, right?
I got to sit down (I’m sure we were both sitting down while on the phone with each other) with mt. marcy’s Jack Follansbee based in the great rust-belt city of Pittsburgh. I got to pick his brain about the current lo-fi scene, his influences and some things he’s been working on.
Follansbee defines his style as lo-fi. Lo-fi basically covers all the bases. You’ve got elements of trip-hop, jazz, hip-hop, ambient, and way more so labeling it lo-fi simplifies things a little more. Although I always hate to simplify an artist to a single genre, it makes it easier to find something similar when I google “dope lo-fi tracks”. Thanks for that.
Follansbee started playing music at the age of 6 with piano lesson. He told me”[he] hated it.” Lol, look at you now. Anyway, after the dust settled on the piano keys he picked up guitar.This was around age 10 and soon thereafter started playing in bands. He’d been in a band up until about a year or two ago and after they split, he bought a cheap sampler and started experimenting. The drive for electronic music came from the almighty Aphex Twin. So, Follansbee wanted to make some crazy complex IDM. It didn’t stick (obviously) because he couldn’t find himself in it emotionally, Follansbee said that with the IDM “[he] couldn’t get any feeling into electronic music.” That led to more lo-fi/ambient music you can listen to in his first EP 愛 My Body はて Tape. I’m glad it didn’t stick because all of his releases have mad V I B E S that make me play them over and over.
So naked lunch is quick. Altogether it runs 15 minutes with some tracks as short as 41 seconds. Which I didn’t think I would like but the more I listen to it, I don’t feel committed and I feel a progression and flow from any point in the EP. You would think that with a 15 minute long EP, the whole thing would have some storyline or some ebb and flow. It doesn’t. It’s choppy, tracks are singled out, there are abrupt stops and it just ends too soon. I don’t say these things negatively. It was done on purpose and honestly it’s a nice way to break up tracks into fleeting moments rather than tell long stories. Throughout this EP you have tracks that are merely some keys and rain and some that expand to have catchy melodies overtop of crunchy hi-hats and snare sounds made up of “dropping marbles on shit”. Although the backbone of a few tracks is some form of jazz-driven piano sample, it arcs well (even during 40 second tracks like “dilla-redux”). The great part about this EP is how well done the overall sound is. That is the one cohesive part. When you go from a soft/ambient track like “lullaby” into a more driven, energetic track like “figs” while maintaining balance, it really is a great thing to hear. That’s why any part of the EP is a good place to start or end.
When I asked Follansbee about the community on SoundCloud and specifically based around his sound, he lit up over the phone (probably). He showed me some new stuff including SULU (which are the “best beats on SoundCloud”), brother mynor, øxela, and one of my personal favorites (thank you, Jack for showing me) .downtune. Check all of them out because they are dope.
As far as new projects/collabs/sounds you’ll see from mt. marcy goes, I’ll just put that he’s busy. Melanie Rose is doing a remix of “last night i cried in the shower“, he’s working on a few tracks with Sophie Meyers (dope), and there’s one top secret project he’ll be announcing later this year. I’m stoked. You should be too.