It takes a certain hubris to claim that nature isn’t humankind’s greatest source of inspiration. And in Texas, although they’re all a bit more than a stone’s throw away from Austin, we’re honestly spoiled by our abundance of incredible parks. Between Palo Duro Canyon, the Fort Davis Mountains – and of course – Big Bend, the Lone Star State gives California a run for their money in terms of diverse scenery.
In particular, there’s an otherworldly quality to the almost-limitless terrain of Big Bend, which sparked something in Austin Barker and Dominic Sena. Under the handle Ma, this pair draws from Brian Eno, Radiohead, and Alex G, which has helped them translate Big Bend’s awe-inspiring imagery into ambient-and-grunge-adjacent indie. When Ma’s not cooped up in their home recording studio making magic, they’re playing around town alongside the likes of Redbud and Psychic Shark, and up until now Ma’s music has only been accessible in the live realm.
Today, that all changes; Ma just dropped their debut studio single “CALL”, the first of a few new tunes to be released in 2023. It sounds almost like Tears for Fears dehydrated themselves of their synth-pop sonics and swapped them out for a stripped-down grunge arrangement. The chord progression evokes wanderlust, the vocal harmonies inspire mesa-height hope, the drum patterns clatter like an abrupt rocky descent, and some of the guitar work sounds straight out of a revisionist Western soundtrack.