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Blackbird Blackbird is the moniker associated with San Francisco-based electronic ambient musician Mikey Maramag, who recently released the Boracay Planet EP on Lavish Habit. This album is the follow-up to 2010’s Summer Heart, and is driven by many of the same influences that popularized Maramag’s refreshing ambient indie pop in the beginning of his career. Around this time he also remixed songs by other artists, including Beach House, Warpaint, Local Natives, and Modest Mouse, gaining an online following.
Boracay Planet has proven that in only two years, determination and passion can pay off. In the style of artists such as Memoryhouse and Washed Out, Maramag combines exotic electronica with quiet dream-pop melodies in a beautiful ambient album that flows and dazzles. Each song is lavishly layered and textured, sounding as much digitally inspired as it does utterly natural. His ghostlike vocals are shadowy and distant as a half-remembered dream. On this album Maramag’s sound is more confident, more dramatic, and more utterly expressive than it ever has been before. The opening track “It’s a War” offers an unforgettable hook which, juxtaposed against a gentle poignancy and moodiness, lures the listener in from the very beginning.
One is reminded at times of the jangly lightness of Real Estate, and other times of the darker, haunting feel of Grizzly Bear. Maramag also admits to being greatly influenced by shoegaze. Still, he has created something terrifically unique. There is a lot to appreciate about an album which blends synthetic with organic, as Maramag has done so precariously, layering digital ambience upon stunning, droning guitars and heavy, impassioned vocals. Ultimately Maramag shows a keen sense of aesthetic and breathes new life into this lush hidden world of the independent music industry, making it difficult to fathom how short his career has been so far.
All the hallmarks are present of a DIY artist of the technological generation, capable of creating modestly brilliant art alone at home rather than in a professional studio. Maramag currently sells his music on iTunes and Bandcamp, plays shows at various college campuses across the U.S., and Boracay Planet‘s first hit single was featured on a Chevrolet commercial. Evidently, strong motivation and talent have brought him to the point he’s at today, and greater success is likely on the horizon.