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Committing To Tape - Click to view!For years, Ronnie Martin's legion of faithful fanatics has done its utmost to convince the outside world that the man behind the synthesizer is more than a computer technician. "Can't you hear the melodies?" they cry. "Don't they make you smile wistfully and weep with tears of joy?" The only response is a look of blank bewilderment. "Uh, whatever," the unenlightened say as they walk off, trying hard to hide their laughter. Having experienced this rejection firsthand, I know the feeling of helpless frustration all too well. People just don't get it.

Those years of torment are now over, however, thanks to Committing to Tape. On this collection of nine songs, Ronnie has temporarily traded in his synthesizers for a Fender electric. And though this album is only twenty-five minutes long, it clearly displays Ronnie's ability to pull pop hooks out of thin air and combine them with lyrics that twist your heart and turn your head.

Melancholic through and through, this record primarily focuses on our relationships and the mistakes we make. It ponders how our focus often changes, how single events affect our lives, how selfishness clouds our vision, and how life seldom turns out the way we plan it. In the midst of these wistful memories are pleas for peace, safety, understanding, and love. Each song captures one of these thoughts, communicating its message by means of stories that are sometimes long, sometimes short, but always complete.

The guitar arrangements accompanying theses stories are as picturesque as they are simple, giving the whole album a unified feel. At times it is repetitive, but the more you listen to it, the more the sound grows on you. The time and effort you take to appreciate Martin's guitar work is well rewarded as you begin to hear his notes illustrate the scenes of pain and loss.

Although some listeners may find Martin's melancholy tones overwhelming, one can't help but feel Martin is using these dark glasses to show us the danger of misdirecting our focus and ignoring the importance of relationships. The mask of Committing to Tape may frighten you at first, but when you remove the mask you will see a sad, simple face that has much wisdom to offer and many lessons to teach.
- Jason Ewert
April 2004
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