Ben Gregory releases ‘Memoriam’ and announces new EP, ‘Bodied’Listen here
Today, acclaimed avant-pop musician Ben Gregory returns with the announcement of his deeply introspective and poignant new project, Bodied, and announces a headline show at Courtyard Theatre on 23rd November.
Bodied is an intimate collection of songs detailing the complex relationship we have with our own bodies. These songs emerged during a transformative phase in Ben’s life, following his relocation to study in Manchester following a deeply personal period marked by a mental health breakdown. The EP represents a move in thematic material, with Ben delving into the universally relatable concept of our physical selves – a departure from his intimate and autobiographical debut album episode.
Ben offers a glimpse into the project today with the release of single ‘Memoriam’. The ever-unfolding track builds with spiralling, layered guitars and an irresistibly resonant chorus; the song feels like a conversation with a friend, both deeply personal and universal.
“’Memoriam’ is a song centred on disillusionment over the organs one is granted at birth. During my life I’ve been saddened by certain archetypes I’ve felt it impossible to escape: I appreciate such struggles are all-consuming for many people who must remain stoic and indefatigable under the impossible weight of their own forms. These songs are about bodies and their (non)pliability; trying to lie oblique against archaic parameters; engendering a landscape in which your child need not question which mask they’ll wear tomorrow,” explains Ben.
Lyrically, Bodied explores the intricate interplay between self-representation and the unchosen forms we inhabit, juxtaposing ‘what you are’ against ‘what you can only be.’ The songs within the EP embrace the dysphoric, clouded and bizarre beauty that is inherent within the human body. A deeply intelligent collection of music, it oscillates between driving guitars, infectious melodies and delicate, folk-tinged arrangements with otherworldly vocals and clever lyricism. Involved in every level of the creative process, Ben also designed the artwork for the EP.
The opening track, ‘In A Certain Light We All Look The Same’ explores the struggle of self-perception, juxtaposing personal reflections with an Ursula K. Le Guin-inspired call for self-acceptance. Following this, ‘Memoriam’ delves into the disillusionment of predefined gender roles and societal expectations surrounding physical appearance, encouraging us to break free from these confining archetypes. The penultimate track ‘Heart’ paints a vivid picture of the daily grind and the pursuit of personal passions, reminding us of the importance of connecting with loved ones in a world of constant distractions. The closing track, ‘Pale Pregnant King’ confronts dysphoria and self-doubt, challenging the notion that sadness equates to safety and finding solace in the act of singing and self-expression.
Bodied marks Ben Gregory’s second solo project, following his majestic, multi-faceted and emotionally wrenching debut solo album episode, that received critical acclaim from a multitude of publications, with DIY calling the album ‘mind-boggling in its scope and scale’, while Loud & Quiet labelled the project a ‘beautiful account of illness and recovery’. Other press highlights included Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Notion, Clash, and The Line Of Best Fit amongst others.
Watch the video for Memoriam below.