M. | In Absentia

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Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic Spoken Word: With Music Moods: Mood: Weird
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In Absentia

by M.

Outsider music.
Genre: Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic
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1. Intro: Morning Star
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1:41 $0.99
2. Xenophobia 88
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2:28 $0.99
3. NYC B
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3:19 $0.99
4. 17
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5. Alien
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6. Old Age
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7. Intermission: A Streetcar...
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8. Carnaval
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9. Blind Dog
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10. Yr. 2001
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11. Pop Art
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12. The Great Depression
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13. Outro: Fin
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Recorded at Little Pioneer Cider House in Brooklyn, NY. Recorded & written during the year 2007. Produced by M. & Little Pioneer. Mixed, engineered & mastered by Little Pioneer. All songs written & performed by M. & Little Pioneer.

This is my personal political record. Politics can be a very complicated subject and to be honest, I am not a good candidate for an in-depth political discussion. But some political situations in the last couple of years have affected me on a personal level.

M.


Reviews


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J Capeling

Subba-Cultcha
Brooklyn-based, Post-Rock experimentalist, M. comes at us with A third convention-flouting outing.


“…Like a Dylan-fug, like a fuzzy-wug…” so said Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore on the intro to their tour video, ‘The Year That Punk Broke’.



M. has certainly a little in common with some old skool Thurston-style nonsense, non-verse, freeform, intoxicated ramblings. A remarkably reminiscent jumble of babblings, uttered over a backdrop of ambient orchestrata, form the intro and intermissions to his third long-player,



‘In Absentia’.



The overall influence of Sonic Youth, along with Fugazi and Shellac is apparent as M. stutters and convulses through a dichotomy of post-rock: churning, repetitive, no-wave punk meshed with avant-garde experimentalism - replacing the usual chaotic, noise guitar renderings with experimental digital media - is suddenly cleanly severed in favour of Slint/Ranaldo-esque spoken word interludes and, at times, what sounds like abstract amateur



art-DJing.



If I use the ‘forward-slash’ punctuation mark to separate words, then do think of it as a literary sever: a symbol for two clearly different, defined themes cut and shut together, for the duration of this article.



It’s as if someone with acute ADD has made a mash-up of the genres encompassed in the above paragraph, as they are all present but not as key ingredients of a melting pot but more as designated representatives at a UN summit; all there as individuals rather than blending within a group. Their jostling for space is all the more entertaining for it, though.



The same somewhat repetitive, plodding instrumentation and droning vocals that blight Shellac releases in places can threaten to drag down what would otherwise be a more enjoyable as well as ambitious record, but



‘17’ glides in as a nod to classic album construction, and brings us a sombre, enjoyable, if a little obvious piece to regain an equilibrium before launching into a rapturous spoken-word/screaming punk track, ‘Alien’… The only problem with it being that it is a bit of a one trick pony.



Despite these criticisms, do bear in mind that in a time of asymmetrical-fringe-and-tight-trouser-over-content, what M. is doing is by far and away more bold, valuable and rewarding than the Beach Boys imitations and tried-and-true root chord progressions that pass for an alternative in most quarters currently.



This is a confused, head-spinning, flawed, multi-generic and occasionally marvellous record that can get lost in it’s own pretension.



M. seems to me that he might have the makings of the next Daniel Johnston.



As ‘Thurston @ 13’ might sum up, “What you are about to hear is something extraordinary… There.”

John Book

The Run-Off Groove
M. is not to be confused with M of "Pop Musik" fame, but rather a man named Martin, who creates the kind of psychotic electronic-based rock along the lines of nine inch nails or Ministry. In Absentia (self-released) takes a look at a world with an uncertain future, expressed through paranoid beats, vocals of rage, and various sounds and samples. "Xenophobia 88" sounds like doom at its best, and when the sound of a music box comes into the music, it sounds like we're looking back at a better world long gone. "Alien" is the story of someone who finds himself in a place unknown, only to be taken through a process of anti-identification. and it might make people afraid to walk outside ever again.

It's pretty heady and heavy stuff. M. calls this a "headphone album", although it sounds great without it. Blast this through a nuclear winter and see what comes out of the muck. Maybe your past.

Adam Charles Beyerbach

The M. Experience
This is one of those rare "sincerly made" albums. Honesty and nonpretentious intentions win me over every time. The lyrics are very heart felt. They dive into the dark place, but don't plunge me into sorrow really. Just taking a boat ride across the depths. Some very haunting acoustics as well. My favorites are "17" "Old Age" and "OutroFin." Good job Martin!

EarBuzz

Don Kimenker
M.'s record, "In Absentia", is a fusion of punk electronics and home-spun underground political and personal rock. It's youthful, intimate, and inventive and an artistic journey of cynicism and intelligence in a 13-track collection that paints a sometimes bleak world in each intentionally successive track. The music is nearly experimental in tracks like 10's, "Yr. 2001" and the spoken "A Streetcar Named Desire". The album opens with a rhythmic string bed and spoken word. The less than two minute tune moves into "Xenophobia 88" and in a musically punk tone that introduces the direction of the album - political, social, and with disillusion. Track 5, "Alien", chronicles the path of a convicted illegal immigrant who was jailed and deported. The song is spoken until the screaming perfect chorus, 'was i blind not to see that it wasn't meant for me, that it wasn't meant to be, or is it all in my mind". The artist describes being and feeling guilty of wanting the American dream. The track, along with the following, "Old Age", are two of the most personal and penetrating on the record. The dementia tracks include a stop in Spanish in track 8, "Carnaval". The tune establishes a bass groove that is painted with off-key horns and equally modal south-of-the-border vocals as the artist finds himself back 'home'. In one of the last tracks, "The Great Depression", we hear the artist inspired flavors of Waters as vocals are sent through a thin frequency on top of acoustic guitar and perculating beat, 'nothing but depression' sinks the tune into sadness. The final track, an instrumental full of tension never resolves and leaves the listener spent...and well worth the cost. Rarely are albums complete works anymore - moving with music to reveal a human odyssey. "In Absentia" is one of those rarities.

Mike SOS

Gears Of Rock
NYC artist Marthyn (or M. for short) pieces together a smorgasbord of jagged lo-fi juxtapositions, further developing this middle-ground musicians’s rulebending visions and unique style in the process on the 13-track IN ABSENTIA. Seemingly strung together from a bizarre crop of spoken word rants, woe is me electronic melancholy, mashed-up DJ grooves, artsy space folk, minimalist punk, and outright personal delusions, this scattershot and vibrant composite sounds fresh off a NYC modern art punk show, spouting an uninhibited and heartfelt collection of musical musings from the perspective of an outsider looking in. While the overall aura may smother with the kind of self-absorption that ultimately dilutes the effort, there’s enough intriguing segues and a barrage of genres explored to warrant a few listens before making an informed decision on this disc.

Alex Jasperse

MusesMuse
Can a question become ‘lost’ if it’s subjected to endless amounts of repetition without response? Considering that so many artists ask the same questions, and offer the same answers revolving around a handful of themes, has our natural curiosity to dig deeper in the world of music and song-writing been sedated by sameness?

M. lives for questions. Whether it’s his take on society, his chameleon-like genre-switching talents, or the way in which his album is presented, M. is the antithesis to all things monotonous. Nothing has been predigested for the listener, and with his latest release, In Absentia, M.’s evocative mixture of intense spoken poetry and singing beautifully works hand-in-hand with everything from metal-inspired rages to dreamy minimalist soundscapes.

Exploring a number of questions on the concept of self-identity, M.’s warm vocals waste no time in “Intro: Morning Star” to see if the listener is ‘really’ there. A barrage of questions keep coming, challenging and offering ideas left and right over gentle, slow-moving strings. Information overload it is not, because the stark contrast that follows in “Xenophobia 88” suddenly brings thrash and punk-inspired riffage to the table, while simultaneously deconstructing complex social and psychological issues surrounding race perceptions. If the Bob Dylan lyrical wake isn’t enough to leave you trying to sort out all the hidden messages and questions for days on end, then the sudden narrative perspective shift may just do it. Traversing the social spectrum within seconds, “NYC B” suddenly follows the very-believable life story of a boy caught in a Catch 22 as he tries to shed the weight of negative stereotypes. However, instead of presenting yet another “woe is me” open and shut case, M. creates a fascinating dynamic wherein the concept of ‘success’ is equally weighed in both large and small achievements.

The beauty of M.’s work lies in the almost inseparable and intimate relationship between the lyrical imagery and the music itself. Unlike many other artists whose lyrics could easily be retrofitted over almost any other piece of music, the strength of M.’s evocative brilliance is derived from the simple fact that each musical element works together to achieve maximum effect. Demonstrated through pieces like the acoustic-led “17” and the eerie soundscapes of “Blind Dog,” M.’s work captures the listener, involving them in an experience that is the sum of two very powerful musical parts.

M.’s unrelenting gift for ear-twisting melodies is showcased once again in pieces like “Alien.” Tickling your ears for a moment, “Alien” is – in some respects – a continuation of “Xenophobia 88,” calling forth a melancholic organ that flourishes into a punk-inspired distorted guitar fury. But it’s only a benchmark, as M. goes on to out do himself in the Latin-flavoured “Carnaval,” decorated in trumpet calls, shifting drum passages, police sirens and M.’s own Spanish vocals.

While partly his neurotic charm, what characterizes M.’s work is the simple fact that one song doesn’t always mean ‘one’ song. “Yr. 2001,” for instance, not only strikes with a towering force, but within the time pressures of no more than three minutes, M. effectively makes it feel as though there are multiple of songs within one – a feat that often takes most progressive rock groups upwards of ten minutes to often achieve.

In Absentia is aural stimulation of the best kind. Not only is it challenging and provoking, it is a rare album that will – no matter what – leave a lasting mark on the way you think about the power of music. So back to the ultimate question: can a question become lost if it’s subjected to endless repetition? According to M., yes, it can… on a regular basis, in fact. M.’s impeccable ability to reach beyond all things familiar and safe reveals a new dimension of creativity and curiosity waiting to be tapped into. And thankfully, M.’s gotten to it first.

George Markou/Gew-Gaw Fanzine

Peace Frog
There is also a peculiar yet unique compilation of various sounds on M's CD. One group that came to mind when I first heard these songs were the Dinosaur J. Am I right? Couldn't care less if I wasn't ...Here you will hear songs full of melancholy, a tad punk with clear sound, some acid jazz moments, a feeling that the Joy Division will pop out of somewhere, avant-garde electronic music forms, some exprimental areas, acid folk and various other musical elements which render this CD rather enticing.