Cole M. Johnson
  • Courtesy of Cole M. Johnson’s Bandcamp
  • Cole M. Johnson

Yesterday local singer-producer Cole M. Johnson released a tender two-song Bandcamp download that pushes R&B towards experimental music and vice versa. Johnson says he started working on the tunes, “Keeper” and “I Was Sinking Into Your Arms,” about a year ago. “I like to write and record a track all in the same day, after which I’ll make many drafts trying different processing techniques and embellishing it over the course of a few weeks,” he says. Johnson spent more time sitting on the songs than making them, and I’m not entirely sure why he waited till now to release them, but I’m glad they’ve seen the light of day.

On “Keeper” Johnson explores the worlds that can connect ambient music to R&B—he uses samples of fragile sounds that are hard to place to build a bridge between a rush of noise at the song’s intro and a minimal movement that features Johnson singing in a gentle, measured manner that’s a few notches above a whisper. “Keeper” is imperfect, but it holds my attention throughout its nearly nine-minute duration. These two songs suggest a guy with a lot of promise—take a listen to “Keeper” below, it’s today’s 12 O’Clock Track.