“Grant Hazard Outerbridge (Memorybell) has been playing music for more than 30 years. In 2014, he was diagnosed with ‘transient global amnesia, a condition that causes the brain to temporarily stop making new memories.’ Returning from the hospital he found his previous compositions ‘garish’ and started to pare them down to their essence. This resulted in the minimalist piano album Obsolete (2016).
Three more modular synth-based ambient albums followed, but on Membranes he once again presents an album of Satie-esque piano compositions. Once again, his unfortunate medical condition triggered this work:
“Between December 2020 and November 2021, Outerbridge was in excruciating pain caused by the side effects of various medications. He underwent multiple surgeries and spent much of the year incapacitated in bed. ‘Membranes’ – a reference to staring through pain while imagining one is somewhere else – is the result. […] The songs mimic the experience of being in two places at once, one real and one imagined.”
None of the tracks reflects this pain and suffering, however. At least not directly. Leaving many long spaces between the notes, these pieces are very calm, relaxing and comforting. The opening title track sets the theme (and the mood), but the album is best enjoyed in one single session. Membranes feels like one single (39-minute) composition that is divided in seven parts, each variation on the recurring theme.
In the abundance of solo piano albums that are released in recent years, it is refreshing to hear someone taking a completely different approach. Espécially of course when the music sounds like it could have been a lost work from Erik Satie!”