Bayonne’s newest album, Temporary Time, has finally been released, and it’s a fantastically fresh breath of what’s been a long time coming. From composition visionary Roger Sellers, this album is a sincerely astonishing embellishment of an ambient legacy in the making as he dives into vulnerable, raw experiences. Temporary Time spans across sonic and lyrical themes that strike as a narrative of introspection within ever-changing lenses of time, the temporary nature of everything, and beyond.
From tracks like “Come Down” and “Words” to “Perfect” and “Tabitha,” the intricate threads that make up the fabric of my listening experience of Bayonne’s latest album are many of an earnest examination on looking down, around, beyond, and within. In the lush and breathing, living space that is Temporary Time is a collection of beautiful tensions ranging from aching growth to nuance of existence from an exceptionally tapped-in artist’s perspective. While creating a work born of personal experiences like loss and mental health, Bayonne captivates both familiar and novel realizations in a beautifully crafted album best interpreted by experiencing it yourself.
“Must Be True,” the opening track to the album, gives one of my most appreciated sentiments with the lyric, “Honesty shapes what I cannot describe.” Fighting a loss for words after listening, here’s my honest review on one of the most impressively introspective albums I’ve heard all year.
First and foremost, the percussive work pushes its provisions past structural and unique pulse; the drums have a particularly crafted relationship with any myriad of melodic elements, from electronic and organic to the invented sounds between them. There’s a substantial foundation along a familiar craft that remains quintessential to Bayonne’s voice with Phil Collins’ influence baked into the rhythmic motions. Every chord progressions on each track always kept my attention and dedication to knowing where the exploration will drift or dance towards next. Gentle yet powerful inhales and lift-off the songs asked and answered for, the soft and satisfying release into new moments in each track–they all felt as familiar as a friend who knows your route home from walking it next to you. There was a journey considered with an undivided attention on its vision and motion unique to the album as a whole; this was an elaboration of elevated curiosity, in sound design and theme, truly meeting its findings without hesitancy. Seamless production quality expands and builds upon an impressive territory for the uninterrupted flow of looping techniques across tracks like “Come Down” and “FK.” Beyond just multi-instrumentalist talent from Roger Sellers himself, this album shines from the collaborative talents of Danny Reisch (HAIM, Local Natives), Jon Joseph (BØRNS, Gothic Tropic), and longtime Bayonne drummer Matt Toman. Overall, this is an album clearly from an artist that composed a place where sincerity is honored and adorned in spectacular sonic medium.
“In early 2019 my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. This record largely explores the emotional journey we went through as a family coming to terms with his declining health, as well as my own mental health and inner self. During much of the recording process I was in a deep state of depression,” says Bayonne of the inspiration behind the record.
“Is it Time” starts with a catchy rhythm later joined by a full-bodied bass line in ethereal synth atmosphere. It has a specifically strong thread in the fabric of my interpretation of the album title, perhaps credit to Bayonne’s ability to engineer space for an expansive range of musical and emotional response to the timing of human conditions. The lyrics speak to loneliness, more specifically the perspectives of how clear it is from looking onward or down at the ground. Thematically, it’s an open introduction to the loneliness that has a strong voice in the foundation of the themes throughout the record. It speaks for itself, honest for honesty’s sake, in step with what the notes have been designed to say about longing for goodbye. Although easy to listen to, the self-awareness and nature of the goodbyes Bayonne speaks about in the track preserves the true form of the song’s meaning. While I wish I didn’t understand what it was speaking to, it’s a beautiful thing to have songs like “Is it Time” to pontificate such a space in the times some of us pass through. It takes on a deeper meaning of the nature of all things temporary, from ideals to moments we need not revisit. “Is it Time” asks a specifically infinite set of questions with space for answers you might arrive to, especially if you let the album keep playing through.
“Solo” speaks to its name as a navigation of independence and separation, how we go alone and along. “No sun to set upon a greener pasture,” is followed by a guitar hook that reminds me of fading off into the horizon with lifted hopes and a sunken sun. Having started the writing process during a solo trip to west Texas, this is exemplary of how Bayonne traverses and processes his physical and spiritual environments and landscapes to his music. Some of my favorite lyrics on the entire album come from this track:
“Some way, somehow, I’m losing your way now,
Sometimes the way to survive can be flawed by affection
I’m fine, I’m aware that we have an endangered connection
Who needs a companion, I’ll see you in tandem.”
“Perfect” includes a music video that dropped just a day before the album release, and it’s easily a favorite from the album already. The visuals invoke a sense of nature, almost inner childlike memories worth protecting as it examines self-worth.
“It’s not so insolent to know your worth.”
I hope this track specifically was a letter to himself as the creative observer he proves to be as an artist; you kind of have to be in order to pull off writing and composing detailed instrumentation and heartfelt narrative the way he does. One of the things I love most about songs like “Perfect” is the warmth, the permission that it generates to your limbs, a sort of sonic alchemy of relaxation and physical release. We’re lucky to live in a world full of artists that have been able to reach this kind of place, but Bayonne made this entire place, this entire piece, his own. Out of the many songs and artists I’ve adored over the years for similar notions, “Perfect” already has a specific place in my heart. Lifting elements like flutes and rounds of rich, mantra-like vocals color the space well and cohesively with the themes and other songs on the album. It’s not antithetical nor central to everything this album is designed to admit or underscore, but this track has a specifically relieving and uniquely compassionate motion that seems logically and emotionally consequential to the rest of Bayonne’s work on Temporary Time.
“Holding onto my efficacy, nobody is taking that away from me.”
“Eventually I started focusing on my well-being and things became much easier for me, but writing these songs certainly helped push me through a dark period. It’s pretty crazy to me that this record is finally going to be released without him around, but he was a big part of it all. If anything, I hope any listeners that have gone through similar experiences will draw some sort of inspiration or healing.”
I don’t think anyone could take away what was given on this album or the elements that created it in the first place. Great music does that, but not all musicians show up like this. I think this song could inspire any creator or person, for that matter, to rewrite their internal permissions in the face of grief or passages of heavy time. It feels right to claim our time.
While Temporary Time could boast any of its single releases or the placements on Apple Music’s “New in Alternative” playlist, I have to insist one of my favorites was the very last track called “Tabitha,” both for what it is and how it ties up the entire experience of the album. The ascension of its introductory melody within the polyrhythmic design responds to components of the opening track and their contrasting positions on the album’s track list, as well as thematic signatures coming full circle with where the album takes you
“We understand it’s hard to give it a try, and I hate the thought of it, too.”
That’s the level of honesty and profound resolve that it leaves in front of you– the shape and sound of all that’s temporary, and worthwhile, and hard, the nature of a bittersweet truth. It’s the bitter pill to follow up on the opening track’s promise that, “Everything that you lack could be nothing to hide.” A considerable level of personal wisdom charged Bayonne’s vision with the ability to know the worth of our own recovery while knowing how god damn hard it is to try for it.
I can’t recommend this album enough, from the casual listener wanting an ambient escape to the deep-divers with depths to resonate with and rise above. Temporary Time is available everywhere you’d normally stream music, but you’ll need to catch Bayonne’s upcoming tour to experience his highly praised performances in-person. Check out the tour dates below, and invest in the temporary time you won’t regret spending with Bayonne.
5/30 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
5/31 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
6/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
6/3 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
6/5 – Seattle, WA @ Madame Lou’s
6/6 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
6/7 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
6/9 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court
6/10 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
6/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7 th St Entry
6/13 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
6/15 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
6/16 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
6/17 – Toronto, ON @ Monarch Tavern
6/19 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
6/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made
6/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
6/23 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java
6/24 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Backroom
6/25 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl Centerstage
6/27 – Dallas, TX @ Club DaDa
6/28 – Austin, TX @ New Parish
5/26/2023: written by Samson Winsor