‘Mnemosyne’ is the debut album from Mexico City based multi-instrumentalist, film composer and sound preservationist Carlos Morales, who creates under the name The Phonometrician.
‘Mnemosyne’ is an album that asks what memories would sound like if they were captured through sound. At its core, ‘Mnemosyne’ is album built around finger-picked acoustic guitar, somewhat classical or folk styled in nature, yet it’s much more than that. Morales deploys a very specific palette of instrumentation to realize his musical vision, it’s as if the classical guitar is slowly being worn away and devoured by an onslaught of looping, ever-shifting analog sound creatures, scattering for cover when the light hits them directly, continuously eating away at the strings. Much like rifling through the pages of an aged and tattered diary, warm shuffles of vinyl and airy waves tape saturation emerge only to retreat once more into the darker recesses, leaving the psyche grasping wildly to recall the meaning of their existence.
‘Mnemosyne’ is further enriched by the hum of mechanical elements in the distance, disconcerting at times, yet at others strangely comforting, like the sound your grandparent’s heater use to make when it fired up. In addition, driving wooden stomps and immense sunken basslines propel the form of these weary recollections further forward. Haunting cellos rise from the grey matter, carrying with them a life time of exaggerated deeds, faded lovers, and the fleeting remains of those lost to completion. Metaphor here seems more precise than lazily dishing out genres or musical styles, as much like memories ‘Mnemosyne’ runs the gambit of emotions. Songs like “Chloe” or “Poppy Meadows” provide warmth, more in the way of Americana or chamber folk, whereas “The Run” or “Here Comes the Storm” pulls the guitar in a more classical or Latin direction. Then, the more experimental blends of electro-acoustics and rhythm enter in with songs like “The Curse” or “If I Died Tonight.”
As Mnemosyne is the Greek goddess of memory and remembrance, LTS figured there’s no other visuals that could compare to those of Brazilian artist and illustrator João Ruas. Having worked with Ruas on a number album artworks including William Ryan Fritch’s ‘Revisionist’, ‘Leave Me Like You Found Me’ and ‘Emptied Animal,’ we were well aware of the brilliant blend of modern art with mythology and lore that Ruas incorporates in to his art. ‘Mneomosyne’ will be available in two stunning physical formats. Firstly, the CD arrives in a lush A5 size hard cover book featuring 8 full color pages of artwork by João Ruas. Secondly, the album was pressed to 180gm audiophile vinyl using the lacquer cut method. The vinyl comes housed in a beautifully textured, reverse print sleeve, featuring an alternate version of the cover artwork from the CD edition. Each comes hand-numbered, and limited to 200 editions in each format for the world, with no repressings or second editions.
All in all, whether ’Mnemosyne’ achieves its goal of providing an aural translation of memories or not, it’s a fascinating album that’s sure to make its way into hearts and minds. Giving shape to memory, perhaps the most evasive of human traits is no easy task, and one so personal that perhaps in the end Morales may be the only one with the full understanding of these compositions. Yet, we believe he’s created something highly relatable and unendingly captivating with ‘Mnemosyne,’ that will be hard to forget, even with the illusive and ever-morphing nature of memories.
Written and arranged by Carlos Morales
Recorded at Cactus Studios
Artwork by João Ruas
Layout and design by Ryan Keane
Mastered by James Plotkin
FOR FANS OF: Western Skies Motel, Matt Elliot, The Caretaker, Fourtet
01 We're Burning
02 Golden River
03 You Only Change Names
04 Here Comes the Storm
05 They Toll for Thee
07 The Curse (When Memories Fade)
08 The Run
09 Lights Off
10 If I Died Tonight
11 Poppy Meadows