'Ripe Hymns' is the solo debut for Sacramento based experimental producer Michael RJ Saalman, recorded throughout 2011 and 2012 as a way of seguing from prior stints as a guitarist and to encourage his interest in engineering. Appropriately, the album is irresistibly varied. Impulsive, often frenetic, and meticulously produced, it sometimes falls in a recognizable vein of experimental pop but remains uniquely inflected inflected by Saalman's disparate electronic influences; more adventurous experimental composers like Penderecki or Cassiber, as well as the commercial production work of R. Kelly or T. Pain. When the album moves manfully into its moments of greatest clarity, the outlook it reveals is intensely beautiful, perhaps best revealed in standouts "Cancerous" and title track "Ripe Hymns." As much apprehended as beautiful, the album is no less rich thanks to the whimsical beatwork of tracks like "Act Alarmed" or "Far Away Continued," or denser moments of sound collaging throughout, each a joint hinged between more compact emotional narratives. Recorded simultaneously with an upcoming new LP from his Biosexual collaboration, with Jocelyn Noir (aka Alak) and Zac Nelson, Ripe Hymns adds further dimension to a budding community of slipstream pop composers that we hope to continue working with for the duration.
Honorable Mention from Adam Harper for Electronic Beat's 2013 Underground List,
"Sacramento-based musician Michael RJ Saalman’s new cassette Ripe Hymns is the kind of minimal, left field electronic music that seems to exist outside genre. Sure, the arpeggio’d synths, tropical percussion, and glitchy electronic feel superficially familiar, but the way in which Saalman layers them is quite unique. An ambient instrumental landscape (save for Jocelyn Noir and Zach Nelson’s haunting vocal harmonies on 'Far Away Continued'), that continually pull the listener into it’s very specific groove." -Symbiotic Reviews
"Sacramento avant-pop auteur Michael RJ Saalman exists in a very insular world. Or at least, it appears that he does. His music is about as detached from any one genre as you can get, and the sounds and rhythms that he creates do not adhere to any known set of musical guidelines. His music seems to be very stream-of-conscious oriented, but not in a fragmented way, more so in a wide-eyed sense of discovery manner – with each instrument willing to give up the ghost in the pursuit of some higher compositional force. Utilizing a host of synths, guitars, and atypical percussion, Saalman creates vivid and intrinsically innovative pop music, but even that description fails to completely capture the often indecipherable way in which he approaches music." -Beats Per Minute