Roman Ruins - Homebuilding
Format: 12" colored vinyl (Translucent Milky White)
Design: Graham Hill
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Homebuilding is the debut album by 31 year-old Oakland-based songwriter and producer Graham Hill (Roman Ruins). Hill is an architect and landscape designer, with a thirst for methodical and process-oriented craft. Since 2008, Hill has played drums on tour with Beach House and Papercuts, and contributed to the recording of the former's critically lauded album, Teen Dream. The music on Homebuilding creates a sense of home, lyrically exploring the range of bonds that hold families together. Hill began constructing these songs while on tour in Europe in early 2010, daydreaming in the van about his pregnant wife at home. Following the birth of their son that summer, it became clear that Hill was ushering in a family of songs about the process of growing a home, both architecturally and spiritually.
The vinyl edition is cut as continuous sides with no breaks between tracks, which reinforces the connected nature of the music. Mastered by Nick Carden at The Blue Room in Oakland, California.
01. Roman Ruins - Mighty Love
02. Roman Ruins - Wildflower
03. Roman Ruins - Lights Out
04. Roman Ruins - Night
05. Roman Ruins - Mother's Day
06. Roman Ruins - Only Son
07. Roman Ruins - People Street
08. Roman Ruins - Cherry Picker
09. Roman Ruins - Outer
10. Roman Ruins - Freret Jet
"If someone had told you that the guy who drums for Beach House on tour would release an album of his own, that it would be brilliant and even better than the Beach House album released that same year, you would probably have told them to get some sleep as they were obviously overworked and talking crazy. That is exactly what has happened though with Graham Hill’s (aka Roman Ruins) debut album, Homebuilding. It was largely written while Hill was on tour with his pregnant girlfriend left behind and the result is an album of rare beauty about growing a family and home. Delicate ambient sounds blend into soft 80s electro beats while the vocals gently rock you as if a babe in arms. More than any other, Homebuilding is designed to be experienced as an album in its entirety rather than as a collection of tracks. The narrative thread is woven throughout and the vinyl (which is stunning) has even been cut with no gaps so you can listen to it as one continuous piece of music. It is simply gorgeous." - Alphabet Bands (#6 Best Release of 2012)
"Homebuilding is a fascinating mix of pop and ambient sensibilities. A complaint I often have with ambient music is that the sounds just seem to wander without any payoff or structure. But Hill holds his ambiance to a strict framework. Every moment seems focused on the goal of the overall track rather than falling in love with a single feeling and letting it destroy the greater idea. This is one of the more satisfying releases of 2012 because it’s unique, exciting, and is a wonderful document of a man who had a clear idea of how to implement his knowledge of space and precision in order to audibly portray the physical."
- We Listen For You
"Roman Ruins is a project from Oakland’s Graham Hil, occasional drummer for bands like Beach House and Papercuts. After a few small releases in recent years, Gold Robot Records will be putting out his fantastic debut LP called Homebuilding on February 28th. For the past month, I’ve been secretly enjoying this record and now I’m really excited to premiere the opening song “Mighty Love.” This track sets the tone for a very smooth-flowing album - so smooth in fact, that the vinyl is pressed into two continuous sides with no breaks between the tracks. Definitely keep an eye out for this one."
- Ears of the Beholder
"Dream inspired sounds with a tropical twist. A nice easy listen that you can get lost in."
- We All Want Someone To Shout For
"Hill takes a Comfy In Nautica approach to modern pop, floating gauzy vocals over meshed loops of natural sound, harmony, and instrumentation. Hill’s luminous concoction sets us on a gravel road in the South, cruising past a chain-gang toiling alongside a sea of sunflowers, cicadas and the waning summer sun in the bed of ‘54 Chevy Pickup. From our perspective, it’s a rather beautiful taste of Americana."
"Tribal backing vocal loops mix with light percussion and drawn out lead vocals to create a hazy, downtempo style like a kind of psychedelic Yellow Ostrich."
- Their Bated Breath
"Mighty Love is the first single from Roman Ruins’ debut album Homebuilding, a frenetic, eclectic and awesomely bizarre cut that reminds me of what I’d hoped Here We Go Magic would have done through the promise of their self-titled 2009 debut. Quasi-tropical percussion and subtly energizing bass lines sneak in and out of the track while layer upon layer of everything under the sun (vocals, rainsticks, synth squeaks, oohs and aahs) flesh out the rest. Part high life, part Beach Boys, part post-Animal-Collective musical hieroglyphics, it’s exactly the sort of music I get all giddy for in 2012… which is why Homebuilding has rushed near the top of my albums-to-watch list. Can’t wait to hear the rest."
- I Guess I'm Floating
"It should be no surprise that Hill has a spectacular ear for percussion creativity. On "Mighty Love", the track opens with the sound of feet running on a crunchy surface and slowly becomes the backbone for a dreamy and expansive track filled with twists and turns. It takes a bit for all the sounds to come together, but once Hill's Beck like vocals kick in, the track hits a nice groove that holds strong until the end. This is a very laid back track that upon multiple listens new layers are uncovered and the listener is rewarded."
- We Listen For You
"These foundations, of course, are primarily due to this natural desire for rhythm and percussion, both organic and synthetic, which are based on the ten songs on the disc. Rhythms cleverly constructed, sometimes scholarly, but never convoluted."
- Hartzine (translated f/ French)
"It (Mighty Love) pulsates with a woozy beauty that make these four minutes way better than most 4 minutes you'll experience today."
"Wildflower begins with some haunting, barely squealing ambiance, like an empty old slaughterhouse. Then milky vocals slip in, and halfway through the song, a small choir of voices suddenly appears, lending the track a bit of grace. But it never loses its apprehensive tautness, which makes the song quite relistenable."
- The Tune
"The Beach Boys vocal harmonies and percussive rhythms make it hard not to think of Panda Bear and his latest album Tomboy, but Roman Ruins’ sound is definitely unique. Further on in the album, you’ll hear influences ranging from Beck to the Talking Heads."
- Red Eyed N Blue
"Homebuilding is about becoming adult, starting to look outwards, thinking about that larger picture and leaving more selfish pursuits behind. Like the spiraling record groove, home building doesn't end when the needle leaves the last track on the turntable."
- QRO Magazine
"The music is complex and detailed, driving but not aggressive. At different volumes, it takes on a very different character; it’s mellow when quiet but intense when blasted. The music also reminds me of the work of another drummer turned songwriter: Phil Collins. His early solo work was intensely personal, and his music was progressive but belied obvious pop instincts. I think Hill’s music on Homebuilding contains some of the same spirit, though obviously without the heavily gated snare drum or the overt cheesiness that Phil Collins tends to achieve nowadays. The album flows very well (the LP lacks track breaks, even), and touches on stylistic touchstones as diverse as Animal Collective, George Harrison and Yaz. This is really one of the better albums that has come out in 2012"
- Melodic Expectation
"Earlier on this year on Gold Robot Records, Hill released his debut album ‘Homebuilding’, a smooth, lush recording where cuts are taken from many cloths resulting in a beautifully crafted collage quilt of sound. ‘Homebuilding’ is one of the easiest start to finish listens you will encounter this year as the all tracks blend together perfectly, the seams are tightly sealed, no gaps or blank spaces here. It’s hard to even comprehend the possibility as the tracks somehow effortlessly glide from tribal epics to Caribou-esque electronic wonders, not forgetting through 80’s bubbling synth jams to sprawling, delicate ambient pieces. Again it’s hard to comprehend, but Hill pulls all this off with style, elegance and finesse resulting in a right gem of a debut record, he’s off to a pretty good start! Good entry points are ‘Mighty Love’, ‘Lights out’ and ‘Mother’s Day’ but obviously this is one best experienced as a whole."
- Small Print