reviewed by Michael Thomas
“A futura memoria” is basically the Spanish translation of “for future reference,” as in, remember this now, because you’ll need to know it for the future. Vancouver producer Malcolm Dow reverses that phrase with his act and album name, and his combination of folk and experimentation makes his debut EP something you will definitely remember in the future.
The three songs of the EP are an exercise in thinking big, but starting in familiar places. The arrangements of each song change often, usually beginning like a folk song and dipping into weirdness—sometimes returning to familiarity and sometimes taking a full plunge. Lyrically, Dow thinks about big things. “Modern Girl” takes the well-worn concept of the modern, unattainable girl and elevates her so high that it’s almost absurd, which might be the point. The song starts with some clean vocals and simple guitar, before more guitars and keys join in, making the song sound like it’s shimmering. By the end, Dow repeats, “Meet me in the sky at sunrise.”
“In the Dark” takes a few themes and blends them together into something else. The songs seems to be narrated by a parent, imploring the child to be free and not get worn down by life. The parent says “You have to be like a tree, you have to be hardened by the weather but living so gently.” But the parent also wants the child to know he or she will be protected, always. The song at first takes it cues from 60s psychedelia, but it dips into glitch-y sounds here and there
Finally, “Where You Hurt” asks a question no one ever knows how to answer: what are we living for? To live we need money and food, but what is our greatest purpose? Spare synths greet Dow’s vocals at first, before the arrangement gets weirder and weirder. Beyond the question, the song also has some advice: don’t run away from the good things, or you’ll get hurt.
The last song is the best indicator of Dow’s prowess, as it continues to bend in unexpected directions. A futura memoria: Memoria Futura.
Top Track: “Where You Hurt”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)