In 2020, hybridity is almost everywhere you look, but in the underground market, one particular act is attracting a little extra attention on the strength of an album titled Songs from Inside. I’m talking about Valerian Ruminski’s Impresario of course, and if you haven’t heard the project’s ten-track debut, I’d highly recommend giving it a listen as soon as possible. Comprised of tracks like the slick groove anthem “Living in My Dreams,” industrial dance track “Whatsoever You Do” and folky “If You Knew,” Songs from Inside is definitely one of the most diverse records I’ve listened to in a while, but far from the least cohesive effort you’ll hear from an experimentalist like Ruminski this summer.
Even taking away the complexity of tracks like “Lean on Me,” the electropop “Sometimes” and exotic “Gringo Bingo,” the range that Valerian Ruminski is bringing to the table in this record alone makes it a must-listen from start to finish. There’s never an instance where he sounds caught off guard by the ambitiousness of the material; if anything, he sounds a lot more eager to slash away at the complicated structure of “Leap of Faith” than many of his contemporaries would in a similar setting.
I really love the stylistic contrast between “What Kind of Man R U?,” “Goodbye My Friend (For Jason)” and the operatic “The Coat Aria (Vecchia Zimarra),” and while it’s a little more intense a mix than some mainstream audiences will be prepared for, audiophiles like myself will be particularly taken aback by the skillset in play here. The experimentation is something to marvel at all on its own, but what’s most fascinating is the fact that it comes with no arrogance on the part of Ruminski. As Impresario, he’s unhesitant and constantly swaggering, but never imposing his own ego onto the listening experience.
This master mix gives us a lot of detail within the compositional structures of “If You Knew,” “Living in My Dreams” and “Goodbye My Friend (For Jason),” and to some degree I think it allows for us to explore the underlying narrative behind all of the music here a little better than we would have been with a more streamlined look. Songs from Inside is a superbly intricate collection of tracks, and though it verges on the overwhelming closer to the end of its second act, Ruminski’s steady production hand is what keeps it well-bound around every turn.
Impresario delivers something quite captivating in Songs from Inside, and whether you’re a fan of the experimental beat or not I would definitely tell you to give it a listen this July. Despite the plethora of indie gems rising to the surface right now, I think Valerian Ruminski’s performance here stands the chance of reaching a larger audience than some might expect almost purely because of the energy he lends to this material. His passions are no mystery; in this record, he makes it very clear how much value he places on a raw melody, and furthermore, the lengths he’ll go to make it accessible to us.