Alec Stern’s Ambient Sounds Strive for More in “Settle For These Stories”

Alec Stern & Mykele Deville – Photo by Matt Scheffer

We’re in a very interesting time for music. The past year and a half has really shaped how music is being created. Such is the case with Alec Stern‘s “Settle For These Stories.” Written in the midst of the pandemic right as the protests concerning the racial injustice some of us are too familiar with, “Settle For These Stories” feels like a wonderfully calm reminder of the work that still needs to be done.

“Settle For These Stories” is a swift two-and-a-half minutes, somehow finding a way to take its time and leave your ears far too soon. Stern’s soft and delicate sounds immediately guide you into the track beautiful ambiance. The song began as a piano demo that evolved into something more with the addition of collaborators Mykele Deville and Sen Morimoto.

Deville seamlessly steps into “Settle For These Stories” and delivers a short but poignant verse. With references to Martin Luther King and Moses, Deville seems determined to shine a light on the injustice that inspired the song and clearly marks the simple (but difficult to attain) desires he has, “The destination: sanity.”  There is so much to unpack in his words that are aching to be heard and understood, “That means we settle for these stories, wrapped in glory, cloaked in allegory.”

The music video, directed by Austin Vesely, sees Stern and Deville performing in a sparse warehouse. The pair glide along as easily as the song does, adding to the contemplative quality the song implores of you. Its most powerful moment comes as Deville’s line “I free my mind and go with the flow and ride the waves to the revolution” echos into the song’s end. Here Sen Morimoto’s sax joins the mix and gently adds a rising beauty to the already ethereal instrumentation. The song is transcendent in both its message and sound, truly giving you something to meditate on.

You can check out the music video above and listen to the song over on Spotify. This song was written and recorded in the late-summer of 2020 amidst worldwide protests for racial justice and freedom. Please consider donating to organizations such as Equal Justice Initiative, Campaign Zero, or the ACLU to keep the fight alive.

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Julian Ramirez
Julian Ramirez

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