Buick Audra’s “MASS”: A Deep Dive into Memory, Music, and Massachusetts
In the realm of concept albums, “MASS” stands as an opus that delves into memory, language, and the very essence of the state of Massachusetts. Crafted in the crucible of personal experience and introspection, this ten-track masterpiece is a heart-rending tribute to the stories of its creator, Buick Audra.
The genesis of this project was a poignant one, emerging from the ashes of Audra’s grief after the tragic suicide of a dear friend. “MASS” serves as a poignant mosaic of true stories, each a vivid snapshot of moments that have shaped Audra’s life, inviting us to ponder our own past and how it colors our present. It’s not just an album; it’s an invitation to embark on a journey of introspection.
Audra reflects on the creative process, revealing, “I was in a position to look back on my time in Massachusetts, a place I’m not native to but was drawn to several times during my youth and early adulthood. What I uncovered was a fresh perspective and language to comprehend events that once bewildered and wounded me, some that continue to shape me today. I never anticipated creating this work, but after Marc’s passing, this is where my mind led me, and I just let it flow.”
The album was a labour of love, co-produced by Audra and her bandmate Jerry Roe, with the sonic genius of Kurt Ballou. The fact that it was recorded and mixed at Ballou’s God City Studio in Salem, Massachusetts added an extra layer of intensity and authenticity to the project, bridging the emotional and sonic elements in a powerful way.
Though deeply personal, “MASS” is more than just a memoir set to music; it’s an enigmatic mirror that prompts the listener to confront their own past and how it resonates in the present.
Jerry Roe shares his perspective: “I got to know Buick after most of the events, times, and places that inspired this album had taken place, but I’ve grown close to these stories, and it was incredibly special to breathe life into these songs. Musically, it’s a space where I’ve never felt more at home. This body of work combines all the elements I cherish the most: it’s weighty, beautifully melodic, intensely emotional, and somehow both fun and heart-wrenching simultaneously. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve collectively created from Buick’s profound work.”
The album’s sequence is deliberate, guiding the listener through a narrative that unfolds like a cherished book. Each track is a chapter, and the opener, “Blue,” sets the stage by challenging the idea that staying put is always the right choice, whether in a relationship or a location. It’s an assertion that if you’re trapped in a chapter you’re ready to close, the power to do so is within your grasp. “Fail” follows, an emotional anthem where Buick openly mourns the loss of her friend, Marc Orleans.
“High Sun” takes us back to darker times in Massachusetts, narrating harrowing episodes of mistreatment she endured at the hands of peers, while bystanders looked away. “Vampire” rebels against the clutches of a dominant personality, and “Still Life” echoes the echoes of past imbalances. “We Were Here” uncovers Buick’s fear of being unlovable during her Boston years.
“Distortion” peels back the layers of conformity, enumerating the things she felt compelled to say about herself and her story to fit in, always perceiving her uniqueness as a problem. “A Retraction” boldly addresses apathetic former friends, revealing that any declarations of love may have been insincere. “Move” serves as a reminder that leaving is always an option, and “Dissonance,” the album’s poignant coda, drifts into the realm of spoken word, urging us to reflect on what we’ve seen and heard throughout the album’s journey.
Even the album’s visuals are a canvas for emotion and introspection. The artwork, skillfully crafted by Buick Audra using the cyanotype printing method, is a deliberate choice, reflecting how her memories have been painted in shades of blue by the brush of trauma. Alongside the album, limited edition hand-numbered and signed cyanotype prints will be available, as well as an essay collection titled “MASS: Essays on Memory, Language, & the State of Massachusetts,” a thought-provoking accompaniment that delves deeper into the narratives and themes that breathe life into the music.
Buick Audra’s “MASS” is more than a concept album; it’s a soul-baring journey through memory and emotion, a poignant exploration of the human experience that beckons you to look back, to question your own past, and to paint your memories with the colours of self-discovery.