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Ronald Paris Ronald Paris

Somewhere in between touring with his band Porches. and playing drums in Frankie Cosmos, Aaron Maine's alter-ego Ronald Paris found the time to record some new tunes. The result is an eclectic split tape with Niger musician Mdou Moctar on Seagreen Records, titled Ronald Paris. Back in February, Maine mysteriously released a video for “Protect”, foreshadowing his rebirth as an auto-tune demi-god. The song rounds out the three-track cassette, which finds Maine in a similarly expansive place as 2013's Slow Dance In the Cosmos, this time with more vocal distortion.

In his review of Kanye West's 808 & Heartbreak, Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen called auto-tune “A painterly device used for enhancing vocal expressiveness, and upping the pathos.” It feels absurd to mention West and Maine in the same review, but unlike West, Maine manages to ground himself in humanity, even while singing about a girl who eyes shoot “lasers and pentagrams.” Aided by Frankie Cosmos' Greta Kline, who acts as a human auto-tune, echoing and punctuating Maines yearning, the enhancements allows Maine's voice to soar to new heights. The first track, “Leather”, feels like floating through a meditative void as Maine extends each sound, allowing for maximum absoprtion. For both his audience and himself, Maine's music acts as a vessel of introspection. One of the more wittier instances of this in on “Myystic”: “Sometimes I'm a myystic, sometimes I'm a fishstick.” In the final track, “Protect”, Maine's voice becomes a high-pitched chipmunk squeak before dissolving into blissful ambience.

Stream the album and download it on bandcamp