Marc Riordan carries the difficult musical obstacle of virtuosity. Something, personally, I've never had to bear. Musicians as technically skilled as he typically struggle (counter-intuitively) to express anything as powerfully evocative as his new solo album "Life Systems" does so effortlessly. They know too much, they describe too much, and they leave very little space for the listener to meet the compositions, and wander. On "Life Systems," Riordan uses his tremendous dexterity with keyboards to opposite ends, and spends all his time suggesting and framing, never lecturing, never over-describing any particular surface. The melodies and delicate voicings brush gently against looming unseen forms, and in their soft glances create a vast, inviting, and mysterious emptiness to explore. Just a few strokes, precise, but open: implications.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, one of my favorite things to do was to wander our deeply inhuman downtown in the middle of the night. The financial district here is particularly sterile, and back about 15 years ago, always spotless and completely abandoned after hours. Filled with optimistic, otherworldly 90's corporate architecture, on the right foggy night, you could ride the glass elevators at the Bonaventure Hotel up out of our space-time continuum into a silvered milky void, gliding endlessly towards a single, slow-blinking red beacon somewhere ahead. If you listened closely, you could hear "Omega Building13" playing; faintly, but becoming more insistent as you accelerated away from all physical form.
--Cameron Stallones, Feb. 2021
released April 30, 2021
All music composed, arranged and recorded by Marc Riordan in Los Angeles, CA, 2017-2019. With contributions from and recorded by: Jeff Kimmel, clarinet (track 1); Ben Boye, piano (tracks 1 & 3); Peter Hanson, saxophone (tracks 2, 5 & 6); Jacob Wick, trumpet (tracks 4& 6); Jon Leland, drum machine (tracks 4 & 6); Frank Rosaly, electronics (track 4); Ben Boye and Marc Riordan, piano 4 hands (track 4).
Mastered by Brian Sulpizio in Chicago, IL. Additional engineering by Bill Harris and Nick Broste. Cover art “Smatter” by Peter Bitenc. Design by Ryan Davis and Marc Riordan.
supported by 11 fans who also own “MARC RIORDAN "Life Systems"”
I heard your interview with Jason Woodbury on Aquarium Drunkard's "Transmissions" podcast today. It was truly remarkable and touched my heart. I bought this album immediately afterward and am so grateful to you for this nourishing music in these strange, trying days. I hope I can time my next trip to Chicago to be able to see you perform live. Thank you! Michael Feltes