Memory’s Fool is a real-time exploration of life’s leaps and falls, and is a reminder that we’re all time travellers.
Fortunato Durutti Marinetti’s latest full-length release, Memory’s Fool, is a concept album; the topic is the never-ceasing progression of life through all the experiences that entice us to stop time. If I had to guess, Memory’s Fool is addressing someone — another person, or perhaps a self — caught in the current of some devastating waves. Opener “All Roads” is a contemplation on paths travelled, “All roads must lead me away from me,” and those yet to be traversed, ending with a two-minute transgression of strings harmonizing, a moment of sustain that almost feels like holding your breath before stepping into unfamiliar territory.
“A Kind of Education” picks up the slow groove of a swing rock beat under the lyrical narration of witnessing growth: “I watched you go through a kind of education / the secret lessons that you’ve learned / and you carry them deep inside.” Modulating keys create subtle shifts in mood among lyrics linked in the same phrase. Swells in strings and electric guitar licks lend emotion to the storytelling, with instrumental breaks serving as intermittent checkpoints before proceeding: “Everything is permitted if you want it that way.”
Each song flows into the next with ease, making listening to the whole album a cohesive experience. The rhythmic pacing on “Feels Like” evokes a sense of motion, alternating between an excited, driven pulse and a more withdrawn deceleration: “It feels like you’re just an actor who plays a version of yourself over and over again.” “I Came Here for a Reason” incorporates more jazz influences in the drums and horns, which continues into “Everything is Right Here” with what sounds like a jazz organ and a clavichord. Lyrically, Marinetti explores finding oneself off-path: “I broke my own rule and never counted the cost, and when I ditched my entire self, I didn’t miss what I lost,” before returning to the present moment. In the second half of the song, the layers of synths and strings coalesce: “knowledge comes slowly and often at great personal expense / so I dissolve through the goldenrod of the lightning fields that lay way out west /, and I think I’m already gone / yes, I think I’m already there / and everything is right here.”
“I Would Smile” is where the term “poetic jazz rock” (used in the album’s description on Bandcamp) comes into focus. Jazz-rock influences marry easily with lyrical symbolism: “I might be the kind of runner who crumbles into the gravel of the track / into the crescent of the path / into the lines of the lane.” Marinetti hits the nail directly on the head with the instrumental articulation of the line: “just for the sake of repetition.”
As the title implies, “I Declare” is an honest declaration of affection — the kind that may or may not destroy you — and a surrender to the process: “I’m gonna do it anyway / Without a care / Without a prayer / As if there was any other way to be.” Marinetti plays with distortion and delay, creating an atmospheric levity while the bass keeps things grounded. The shift at the seven-minute mark is the sonic version of the best-case scenario when putting yourself out there, a cascading effect of the rhythm section interplaying with sax solos and trills.
Conversely, “Memory’s Fool (bonus track)” feels like the crash landing of a good thing. Beginning in the throes of the hypothetical, “wishing and believing,” “Memory’s Fool” ultimately ends up humbled by time. In both the presence and the absence of a good thing, when “you love the memory more than you love the real thing,” you’re ultimately at the mercy of time.
Memory’s Fool is a reminder that we’re all time travellers, and there’s no more honest a way to be here than to be present with our ghosts: “You must be memory’s fool the way you try to sustain the stillness of a still image against any blurs, any tears along the edge.” A real-time exploration of life’s leaps and falls, Memory’s Fool is a beautifully written narration of being human, haunted yet here.
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