Kramer – ‘Sitting Alone Suite’ EP


The Sitting Alone Suite EP is a consuming release from Chicago-based artist Kramer, showcasing both gorgeous classical-minded instrumentation and hypnotic vocal flows, impressing with a melodic suaveness on the centerpiece track “Sitting Alone.” The artist took home a Grammy award this past February, for the composition of an orchestral jazz-funk piece for the artist J Ivy, and continues his ascent with the stellar Sitting Alone Suite EP.

A contemplative drive home from the Grammys, in February 2023, provided the EP’s initial inspiration. A moment of reflection arose on the Central California coast, where Kramer waded into the ocean during low tide, captivated by the earth’s beauty. There, he made a striking parallel. Heading back into shore, he recounts: “I drew the parallel of the powerful ocean waves that can easily destroy the strongest human, to the ugly often anger driven and algorithm fed hatred we see in my country every election cycle.”

A captivating instrumental opener, “Sitting Alone in Carmel” eases in with emotive strings and serene piano. Thumping bass and percussive pitter-patter emerge alongside a wintry piano backing, with flourishing sings add a comforting warmness as these instrumental forces combine past the one-minute turn. The piano and strings converge for an aesthetical reminiscence to Ryuichi Sakamoto, while the brisker percussive additions lead an intriguing sense of momentum. Alex Brinkman (cello), Dane Zone (drums), and Brandon Meeks (bass) are featured players.

“Alignment” follows with a debonair vocal lead and a funk-laden pulse, lasting just a minute though making a strong impression in its hints of dreamy pop and trip-hop. The effort leads cohesively into “Sitting Alone,” a gorgeous success with vocals pleading “we gotta talk about it,” alongside elegant piano and weeping strings. Kramer’s strong vocal talents are on full display here, reminding tonally of Yves Tumor. “I’m sitting alone,” the vocals let out as melancholic piano and strings intertwine, succeeding both there and more expressive “mind, body, soul,” verses. “Not gonna happen while we livin’ online,” is thematically poignant, exuding loneliness an effect of digital over-infatuation.

The EP proves riveting in its genre-hopping expanse, from the neo-classical beauty of “Sitting Alone in Carmel” to the chamber-pop emotion within “Sitting Alone” and the serenely funky engrossment of finale “Free.” The Sitting Alone Suite EP is a thorough success from Kramer.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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