Artist: Mark Williams
Title: Just A Memory
Keywords: Dream Pop, Electro Pop, Synth Pop, Pop
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
One of the things about the world and about life that can be great or really sucky depending on your outlook is that each one of us is totally reliant upon everyone else. All of the people out there are what makes being just one of the people possible. All of the small things add up. That’s society and stuff.
I am completely reliant, for instance, on the people I almost never see performing routine maintenance on machines I rarely use, like laundry machines, or powering the lamp I’ve got staring me down from the corner of the room, or writing books to keep my mind active, or, you know, building things like the toilet.
I am also completely reliant on Mark Williams continuing to compose, perform and record music.
If I were some kind of two-bit smarmy music journalist type snob who liked to point and laugh at awful music, which I try not to be, I’d be able to have a field day with Mark Williams. As Karel and I felt when first exposed to the musical stylings of the passionate Mark Williams awhile back, this music is almost irredeemably bad.
I just… I don’t know. I can’t help but love it, not for how bad it is, but how good it is. How good it is at being so good while still being THIS bad.
You just can’t understand… I can’t, rather. Mark Williams’ music is an anomaly of the highest order. As humanity understood once, before Mark Williams came along, quality in the arts was relatively understandable, in a subjective way. It appeared as if the line was quite thin dividing art that was just bad and art that was so bad it happened to be good (some of the best art ever being in the latter category, as far as I’m concerned) while still others were just so bad that they were…. just really, really bad. Mark Williams’ music teeters on the brink somewhere among these categories but magically seems to expand infinitely in all directions defying all logic, all reason, all physics. It’s not technically bad — but it is. It’s so bad that it’s good, except that it isn’t… yet it is. It’s just plain bad… yet you can’t help but love it. You ask yourself time and time again… am I just listening to it wrong? If I listened again, would it suddenly make sense? Before you even listen to it, you’re predisposed to want to love it, but you aren’t able to. Then, you do anyway, somehow, while accepting rationally that you shouldn’t… that you can’t… that it just isn’t working… but it is. No matter how many times I come back, I just can’t force myself to like it, but I do. What the fuck is happening here!?
It’s enough to make your brain explode.
It is because of this that I must write about Mark Williams. I must continue sharing Mark Williams with the world. There is an inexplicable magic to the world and art of Mark Williams… it will defy everything you thought you knew about music, while somehow proving you were right, and through some kind of voodoo portal on a level only Schrodinger’s cat could wrap it’s head around, prove you were totally wrong at the exact same time.
So, with the introduction out of the way, let’s talk about Mark Williams’ single ‘Just A Memory’. I was tempted most to review this piece as my project M.A. put out an album last February with a track titled the same, so a part of me almost wishfully imagined maybe that cosmic beams we’d sent out had reflected off a satellite roaming the atmosphere and landed someplace in California to effect the artist Mark Williams, inspiring an alternative take on the thematic element we’d been exploring. It begins like a shiny space wedding, with bells and compression and dense drums folded in like some kind of origami dove shooting out of a white cake. Then the vocals come in. In analyzing Mark Williams’ vocals, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the rhythmic timing that’s off, not (always) so much the pitch or tone or delivery. Just because of the bizarre magic of it, I can’t even offer a critique. It just is that way, and whatever, it must be accepted as it is. It’s a passionate system of rapid delivery of stream-of-conscious poems of love and heartbreak or something. But not so rapid. Just kind of like a reading of something without punctuation, like no commas or something. I don’t know.
It’s pure, unadulterated magic though and you should stop: drop everything you’re doing, hold the phone, and smell the roses at the link below. Like, right away! Hurry!