From MGMT to Das Racist to Francis and the Lights, Wesleyan University has in the past half-decade come to be regarded as the primordial soup through which a cornucopia of avant-garde sound came to be. Though nurturing the musical ambitions already forged through Anonymous Inc. and Toca certainly factored in to David Ramos’ collegiate locale, his prime motivator upon entering the school was its proximity to his grandmother’s house in New Haven. Amidst hitting the books, being named one of the top ten progressive drummers by Modern Drummer magazine, and playing shows with burgeoning Wesleyan acts in addition to recording and performing with established veterans such as Aceyalone, Busdriver and folk musician Little Wings, many eveningsr and all weekends were spent 30 minutes from the Middletown campus, where the grandmother who provided so much comfort and guidance in the absence of his addict father resided.
In 2008, David would form the label Fake Four, Inc. alongside his brother Ceschi and set up operations in New Haven. That same year saw the release of David’s This Up Here, which began the snowballing critical praise landing the label in a pantheon of indie rap elite alongside Rhymesayers and Def Jux. The success, however, was bittersweet for David. As his grandmother grew ill, David placed musical aspirations on hiatus, moved in to her home to provide care and did not leave the state of Connecticut for three years.
In September of 2010, his beloved grandmother passed away.
On his latest release Sento La Tua Mancanza, David Ramos is at war with impermanence. Falling somewhere between concept album and unrepressed journal entry, the album is David’s love letter to another dimension. It is a tale of completely falling apart and forgetting how to live in one’s absence.
It is the cartographer slowly charting his course out of hell and a hazy sketch of the images passing by. David’s straightforward lyrical approach on the record is accented by the production of German beatsmith Oskar Ohlson and Toca bandmate Tommy V. with instrumental accompaniment from Anonymous Inc. cohorts Ceschi and Max Heath. Ceschi also provides gorgeous backing vocals along with Lizzie Lee. As tongue-twisting raps seamlessly coexist with folksy harmonies, many tracks meander towards a playful, warm orchestration reminiscent of Yann Tiersenand recent WHY?, providing a hint of levity on a heavy album. David speaks of searching for an old birthday cardcontaining his grandmother’s handwriting and clinging to the dwindling scent from her dresses left hanging in the closet. No topic is held too close to the chest in his cathartic sonic explorations. It takes a great deal of bravery to release theinnermost layers of one’s being into the world, however painful and harrowing their hue, and it is something David Ramos does beautifully through the 14 tracks of Sento La Tua Mancanza.