You might not believe him when he tells you, but despite having almost no social media presence, newly-minted act Kramer won a Grammy in 2023 (!). Having worked as a record producer and as a “behind the scenes guy” for years, social media was never a necessity for Kramer’s success in the music industry. But after winning the Grammy for his work on J. Ivy’s spoken word poetry album The Poet Who Sat By The Door, Kramer figured this whole solo project thing was worth a shot. The result is a stunning and poignant debut, the four song Sitting Alone Suite.

Colloquially known as Chris Kramer, Kramer got his humble start fussing around with samplers in the 90s. Having cut his teeth in other bands and as a producer, Sitting Alone Suite came to him while literally in dangerous waters. Recognizing the peril he was in and fearing for his life, Kramer recognized the similarities between the tumultuous waters and our current political climate, especially through the lens of the upcoming maelstrom of next year’s election. Recognition of our increasing reliance on media-via-screens and how it eats into our daily existence is a main theme here, as well as the vitriol that seems to ooze its way into our lives through the constant onslaught of social media. It’s no wonder Kramer doesn’t have any social media – he’s probably been better off.

Album opener “Sitting Alone in Carmel” features a slew of Kramer’s friends, including Alex Brinkman, Dane Zone, and Brandon Meeks. Silky strings and twinkling pianos set the scene here, while an AM-radio bass tone noodles its way into the fray. There are elements of jazz, electronica, R&B, and indie rock at play here, seamlessly amalgamated into an instrumental jam that feels relaxing despite an underlying sense of urgency… Kind of the same feeling you get when you’re doom scrolling on your phone with the Sunday scaries.

Lyrics start to kick in on track two, “Sitting Alone,”  and it’s here when the themes of the album really start to take shape. With its menacing string presence, somber piano plinking, and funky bassline, Kramer takes aim at our seeming inability to get along online. Algorhithms, news feeds, and empty solitude are the enemy here:

“I’m sitting alone with my hands on my phone and there’s nothing for me.”

Kramer elaborates a bit further on the spiritual successor of “Sitting Alone,” “Alignment.” At a brisk 1:05 in length, “Alignment” casually evokes our shortening attention spans while keeping our interest with pulsating synths; staccato bass hits; and a memorable, repetitive mantra that you might recognize from “Sitting Alone:”

“Mind, body, so aligned, time to shine. Not gonna happen when we’re living online.”

Kramer closes this over-too-soon EP with “Free,” another minute-long attention grabber. With guitar arpeggios, ghostly vocals, and the nimble basslines you’ve come to know and expect from Kramer at this point, it’s a fitting way to end an EP that’s urging you to spend less time online. If anything, it’s inspiration to do what Kramer’s urging us all to do – shut off your phone, go outside, and enjoy the beauty of the world around us.

Currently, Kramer is looking to play more shows and sing his heart out, so book him for a gig if you have the chance! Until then, acquaint yourself with Kramer’s Spotify page and keep your eyes peeled for Sitting Alone Suite, out January 3, 2024.