Phraim is one of the very few artists who can (and do) drag me out of my blog hiatus when they release a new project. If you have been following this site, or my radio show, you already know that the Chicago resident is one of my favourite producers. Therefore, when I discovered recently that he was planning on releasing his fourth full-length album today, I was quite excited. After the incredible Silver Lined, Kasbah Moments, and Scars To Prove It, the talented producer now presents the beautifully named Midnite Kisses For Ruby Tears. In case you are not familiar with him, check out previous blog posts about Phraim, including a very interesting audio interview we did. Now, one thing I love about him is that while you can always recognize his touch, all of his projects are quite different. Some things are recurrent, like the witty wordplay in track titles, the cinematic dimension, or the influence of travel, but the overall themes and sonorities are always unique.
With this brand-new offering, Phraim seems to have opted for much more concise musical treats, as most of the tracks are under 3 minutes, often closer to 2 minutes. On the one hand, this makes greedy me a bit frustrated, as I would love to listen to those tracks for a much longer period of time and discover how they could evolve. However, it is also a way to keep the listener on their toes, as atmospheres and ambiances change regularly.
When it comes to the title, I have to admit I looked up “ruby tears” because I had a feeling it could be a famous saying or something like that. When I discovered it was actually a flower, I was both intrigued as to what that was supposed to mean in the context of the title and mischievous in my decision to stick to my own interpretation. Yes, when I saw the title for the first time, and discovered the gorgeous cover artwork for the album, I decided it was a reference to a beautiful lady crying precious tears. Whatever the case may be, both the title and the picture hint at music dedicated to love and a muse. The “Midnight Kisses” part of the title only reinforces the sentiment, and I was therefore ready for a beautiful journey through emotions and feelings even before I hit the play button. If this album sounds slightly less cohesive than its predecessors, I could still feel a specific direction and imagine how and why the music was created through the lens of love and relationships. In addition to this theme, the wordplay in the title of the tracks, as well as the various sonorities, makes the idea of travel quite obvious. Then again, love is a journey, so that fits perfectly.
In terms of actual music and sounds, Phraim makes a clear departure from his latest project, Scars To Prove It, which was much more electronic than others, and comes back to very melodic tracks. From the samples to the notes played by the producer, there is much to please your ears in Midnite Kisses For Ruby Tears. Speaking of the differences and evolution from previous projects, the artist himself says that the album is “indeed a senior release of sorts”. Confirming my first impression, he adds that “while it combines heart from past production, something about the formula of MKFRT is clearly different. Evolved, but grounded. Keen.” The feeling I get is that both the man and the artist have indeed grown, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold and hear.
As the project ends on “Hopeful Headaches”, I am equally optimistic about music and love after listening to the whole album. That’s probably why I had to start all over again, and again. Without a doubt, Midnite Kisses For Ruby Tears will join Phraim’s previous three projects at the very top of the list of the albums I listen to the most. It should be on yours too.
Now that you know more about Midnite Kisses For Ruby Tears, you can listen to the album and purchase it on Phraim’s Bandcamp. Enjoy the journey, support, and spread the word!