Martin Rev's fourth solo album See Me Ridin' was released on the New York label Reachout International Records
(ROIR) in 1996. Received by the critics with amazement, it proved to be a watershed moment in his career.
Journalist Neil Cooper wrote at the time: "When I first heard Rev's new record, I was taken aback. Was he
serious? Was this some inside joke? He had to be kidding - or was he mentally over the top!"
Its reception echoed that of the 1992 Suicide album Why Be Blue, which sprung such a surprise on fans of the duo
comprising Martin Rev and Alan Vegas. On this particular solo album, Rev repeated the trick of dispensing with
rough, brittle sounds. This was not Rev seeking to distance himself from his musical origins, he was actually
getting back closer to his roots.
Signs of Martin Rev's formative influence as an electronic music pioneer can be seen in many places. Virtually no
one would have expected him to deliver a doo-wop album, but in the light of Rev's socialisation and artistic
tradition, it reflects a logical process of absolute reduction.
Martin Rev crafted See Me Ridin' as a kind of power pop hybrid, an album which owed much to the R&B and doo-
wop of the 1950s and 1960s; the music which a youthful Martin Rev heard on the streets of New York, the
soundtrack to his teenage years which had such an intense effect on him and would resurface in his own works.
Nowhere more so than here.
The instrumental foundations of these 16 tracks are built on rudimentarily sketched melodic arches, outlines rather
than fully defined structures, yet all the more forceful for that. As if the full potency of an R&B band has been
distilled into minimalist keyboard compositions.
Martin Rev's vocals are as minimal as they are sentimental, wonderfully poetic like a latter-day Chet Baker
perhaps, or Jonathan Richman.
This solo album not only blindsided Rev's critics and fans alike, but also painted a personal, nostalgic portrait of
his home, New York; fading out the noise and contradictions of the city to channel the romantic energy of the