I’ve accepted that part of this realization is inevitable and beyond my control—a by-product of the speed of information, a mounting set of personal obligations, and the blurring effect of the daily routine. But part of it feels self-inflicted. Namely, I feel like I’ve lost touch with how to get the most out of the time I have to myself. There’s a petty anxiety that builds from not using personal time in a way that feels productive, which paralyzes and distracts to the point where the time spoils and flies past anyway. Lost in the desperate stab at personal enrichment is any actual enrichment. It’s time where I could be slowing the world down in order to appreciate its better aspects.
I came across Kevin Ramroop’s new single “Birdo” in the midst of one of these nadirs, and its languid, lush composition had an immediate effect. Gone was the pretence that this free time had to be strictly regimented. As “Birdo” played on repeat, I felt at ease with the passing of time as opposed to being overwhelmed by it; I simply sat there while it melted me.
What struck me most about “Birdo” is that it could induce such a powerful response in such a short amount of time. Clocking in at 1:43, it’s a song that fades away almost as soon as it starts. The contrast between its runtime and its immersive effect is a testament to Ramroop’s ability to immediately ensnare you in his hypnotic loop. There’s nothing overtly complex about the structure or the composition, yet “Birdo” finds strength in the scarcity of its elements: a sleepy, elegant jazz melody and Ramroop’s poetics sung in a mournful falsetto.
Ramroop finds an enviable balance between efficacy and efficiency. For me, “Birdo”’s quick runtime speaks to how prolonged moments of quiet, serene reflection are increasingly difficult to come by. When they are found, they should be genuinely cherished. It’s a song that aims to make the most of the time it is allotted, but it does so without forcing the issue. Ramroop is perfectly content to inhabit every single second, ruminating on love and transcendence for the briefest of moments before the speed of the world ramps up again.
Clara Engel Where a City Once Drowned: The Bethlehem Tapes Vol. II