Struck by Russ Ramsey, Free for CAPC Members
Death’s party-crashing ways are detailed in a new book by Russ Ramsey, titled Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death.
There’s a soft spot in my heart for solid female vocalists who can give breath and life to structured and transparent lyrics. Within the scope of the American musical landscape, the celebration of women in music over against the contingent of male musicians has been rather lopsided. That percentage only decreases when we focus in on genres and subgenres of music, and is particularly noticeable in the Christian music industrial complex and only depletes more when we move into the realm of female musicians who claim the Christian faith and who fit within the realms of modern soul/urban/hip hop music. Our acknowledgement of Marz Ferrer is one way for us to recognize the diversity of talent and breadth of creativity in all genres, performed by all people of Christendom.
Ferrer’s music defies simplistic definitions and categorizations. As her newly released Blur shows, her influences run far and wide. At times, her music reaches into the fluid electronic flourishes that “trip hop” acts such as Massive Attack have attained throughout their career while, still at other times, digging into the heavy tradition of synths and 808s in 80s-era hip hop and house music, all while diffusing those characteristics that kept house music from extending beyond its strictly 80s context. The record also contains some solid flows from the likes of hip hop acts Elhae and, one of my personal favorites, Jgivens.
Her vocals have smooth edges, urgency, and range, and her lyrics speak to a truth that underpins our existence. She avoids pedantic Christian language and approaches her writing by showing and describing her faith, rather than merely prescribing it.
Marz Ferrer’s music is appealing both within the general traditions of popular music and as a solid example of creative experimentation. Both of which should be a central concern in the art of the faithful. It is mindful of the musical streams that went before and informed it, pushing the boundaries of each one.
Blur, her latest EP (our latest CAPC Member Offering available for free to Christ and Pop Culture members), will break down your most prominent musical prejudices and defenses. Even if you rail against what is often considered the empty and vapid nature of pop music, Marz Ferrer will lull you in with her hypnotic, electronic edge and hip hop-inspired beats. Even if you don’t like EDM or techno or hip hop, there is enough pop sensibility and accessibility to arrest those who might describe their music-listening habits as merely occasional. There is enough diversity of sound and genre going on in this effort to strike a chord with every listener.
Marz Ferrer clearly understands the traditions she is influenced by and moving through that she has an opportunity to reach many ears by “being all things to all people.” Like St. Paul, she’s using her talents to draw many ears to her. Odds are, you’ll be drawn to her as well.
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