A personal, effective work from two of my favorite artists right now. Textures weave back and forth to suggest struggles, acceptance, denials, fear, and celebration all at once. A wonderful album.
Favorite track: Drunk.
more eaze is the nom de plume of Austin, TX mainstay mari maurice, a roving experimentalist who’s explored an astoundingly diverse range of sounds, from drone and computer music to avant-pop and beyond. claire rousay is a San Antonio, TX-based percussionist/composer/sound artist who uses physical objects and their potential sounds as a way to explore queerness, human physicality, and self perception. Together—through a suite of deeply personal aural collages—two of Texas’ most vital and vibrant sonic searchers beg the eternal question: If I Don't Let Myself Be Happy Now Then When?
Although only their debut album together, If I Don’t Let Myself… reveals a profound and fruitful relationship between mari and claire. But the symphonic symbiosis goes even deeper still. Outside of musical breakthroughs, the pair helped each other conquer intensely personal changes, with both mari and claire transitioning and coming out as trans.
As mari explains, “to me this record is very much about this process of becoming—trying to reach something and getting there but sometimes not being quite where you want to be but at least getting closer. It’s about feeling alternately empowered and insecure socially as you transition and trying to cope with these conflicting emotions.”
Musically, the album showcases startlingly sincere sets of serrated but sedative situational music. A-side epic “Drunk” is a sprawling but taut rove of aural duality. Passages of exquisite elegance subtly clash with shimmering shards of sound. “Pre-op” is a poised and pensive piece of solemn reflection, harrowingly honest and delivered with clarity and composure, while “Post-op” closes out the set in a wholly uplifting and optimistic flair.
If I Don't Let Myself Be Happy Now Then When? is ultimately about coping during the respective transitioning phase in both of their lives, obliquely blissful and fraught with freedom.
released March 10, 2020
Composed and produced by more eaze and claire rousay
Mastered by Andrew Weathers
Photography by Samantha Abney
Artwork & layout by Paulina Ufnal & Janek Ufnal