Black Marble is a throwback to a throwback. LA-based Chris Stewart’s music under the moniker hearkens to ’80s synth-pop and new wave, but also to chillwave, the decade-old subgenre built on excavating that sound in glimmering lo-fi. As such, you will not be surprised to learn the latest single from his upcoming album Bigger Than Life is called “Feels.”
Like Stewart’s prior single “One Eye Open,” “Feels” is a dark, smeared-lens take on the aesthetic pioneered by New Order, Soft Cell, and such. This time the mirage effect is explicitly mirrored in the lyrics, which piece together images of some imagined character’s life in the 1990s. Stewart intends the resulting portrait to contrast with the present in ways that do not flatter our modern existence.
In a statement, he explains:
“Feels” is an impression more than a story really told through visual snapshots. Speaking about having a radio show and working a blood drive in DC are memories from sort of a fictional character’s “nineties” past when that part of the country was central to underground music in America and having radio shows on college radio was a popular thing for students to do. These local scenes seemed more cohesive and unified and maybe a little more innocent. The idea that now the quote unquote “scene” is more a digital pastiche of correlated yet not at all united artists, ostensibly associating with one another more for self-promotion than any kind of ethical unity seems a little sad by comparison. It’s interesting that music, a communal thing by nature, is experienced by some artists as an atomized, perfunctory, and maybe even a bit lonely experience considering its always been a tool for people to find their voice and find others like themselves.
Director Izrayl Brinsdon incorporated “real VHS footage from family archives” into his video for “Feels,” hoping to create “a source of nostalgia that is honest and without fabrication.” Watch below.
Bigger Than Life is out 10/25 on Sacred Bones. Pre-order it here.