Roman Angelos – Music For Underwater Supermarkets

photo by Michael Bennett

In a world increasingly bent on self-destruction, moments to mentally escape with the imagination at play are welcomed and valued. One such opportunity comes with Music For Underwater Supermarkets, the new album from electronic artist Roman Angelos. It is an adventure into a world of dreamy exploration and peace sharing daydreams, a collection of instrumental tracks which took thoughts away from grim reality.

Roman Angelos is the solo project of Brooklyn-based producer Rich Bennett, a project borne of his obsession with library recordings of the 60’s and 70s, muzak and exotica. Bennett is renowned for his involvement with a diverse set of projects including 60s proto-punks The Shaggs, dream pop outfit Mahogany, and Brazilian funk group Limoncello, as well as his production work with Stereolab’s Morgane Lhote (aka Hologram Teen). His debut Roman Angelos album in 2020, Spacetronic Lunchbox, showed that his passion for those nostalgic library recordings was much more than just as echo of retail muzak/elevator music;  11 songs in 10 minutes which evoked fresh proposals and new exploits for the imagination. Music For Underwater Supermarkets echoes that success whilst bringing richer and fuller adventures to immerse in, his sophomore full-length a vehicle for personal conjuring.

The album takes the listener through a dreamscape uniting the mystery of underwater exploration with “the mundane act of grocery shopping”, the latter inspired by the composer’s childhood memories of being pushed around in shopping carts in shops and malls. The otherworldly aspect to the pieces emerged in the organic haziness the tracks brought to life, Bennett placing that recollection of childhood adventures underwater due to the buoyant quality they instinctively held sparking that feeling within him.

It is an open suggestion the moment album opening Foghorns shares it’s resonating almost unsettling setting, clangs and sea bred safety calls marking an atmospheric passage into the waiting Entrance, a welcoming doorway into bright if gossamer-esque lights. Bennett is joined by guitarist Matt Filler, trumpeter Tim Byrnes, flutist Patrick Wolff and Franck Picarazzi on the Vibraphone across the release and together they weave a realm of innocent awe and inviting adventure within the track, an initial senses captivating opening stoking a sense of greater mystery and excitement.

There are songs like New England which are instant sparks, brief moments of ambient intimation between the fuller suggestions of tracks like Swimming Through The Aisles yet leaving potent grounds for thought while the latter takes ears on a glide through warm and engaging textures. That is a regular and varied aspect of the album; this inviting a float through shimmering electronics and graceful curiosity lighting up the song’s creative surroundings; a mix of translucent light and fascinating shadows.

That invitation for ears and a busily contemplating imagination is just as rampant within, after the seductive ethereal ambiguity of The Looking Glass, the jazzy rumination of Abyssal Plain. A saunter down its aisle provides a mix of varied temptation and evocative insinuation, an orchestration of sound and one’s imagination within an exotic shimmer.

Through a bubbly descent into compelling shadows with The Aimless Aquanaut and the translucent embrace of Le Plongeur, it is fair to say that the album only further animated our imagination. The second of the two sees bassist Mike Lavalle, drum programmer Spencer Cohen and keyboardist Shoko Nagai uniting with the guitar weaving of Bennett, the song a whimsical yet suggestively provocative glide through multi-faceted textures and crystals of equally varied light.

Completed by the tranquil yet crepuscular Dreaming In The Lake and lastly by The Underwater Supermarket with its more serious but no less radiant and romantic temptation, Music For Underwater Supermarkets proved a richly engaging and evocative incitement.

The album is an opportunity for ears and the imagination to swim in melodic splendour and a release which in the times we all need a certain almost mystical escape for spirit and sanity waits with open arms.

Music For Underwater Supermarkets is out now via Happy Robots Records; available @  

Pete RingMaster 10/03/2022

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Music

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