Yesterday & Tomorrow
Format: Tape Cassette // Digital // Streaming
Limited Edition Tapes // 120 copies worldwide
// STREAM //
Yesterday & Tomorrow is more than just a beat tape. It’s the personal story of Val Murray’s gender transition. Evolving beautifully over three acts, each of the 15 songs is a necessary moment in an emotional arc that begins with Murray’s self-revelations at the start of the pandemic, through to her gradual acceptance and self-actualization in the summer of 2021.
The first act, discovery, is about Murray’s first steps into her transition, developing an acute awareness of her own gender dysphoria, or as she describes it: “searching for the keys to your true self and coming up empty handed.” In this act it’s fitting that beats like psilocybin and opal feel foggy and vaporous. trees featuring Floco Torres, asks us to ponder our undeniable inner truth and outer truth, so we can stay in touch with the world around us. Torres’ incisive lyrics on trees are an extension of an hour-long conversation with Murray after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, painting an intense picture of self-discovery in disorienting times. To end the act, Dysphoria sunshine and drown take us deeper into Murray’s 8 to 9 month period of dysphoria before glimmers of hope appear.
In act two, reflection, we are with Murray as she finds herself at the bottom of a proverbial mountain she doesn’t know she can climb. Dealing with new realizations about her true gender identity, a final grad class in theoretical computer science that feels beyond her capabilities, and a late in life autism diagnosis, she has no choice but to push herself further than she’s ever gone before. This is where she ascends, expanding her mind and growing more firm in who she is. Songs like the girl in the mirror and ikigai, show light entering through the clouds, and along with it, a new purpose for Murray: “live as me.” With prism, a track that began before her transition, Murray sees the world through her new self with life-affirming vividness and meaning.
In the final act, we enter the most recent stage of Murray’s transition: actualization. This is a stage on-going today, one full of questioning: what does it means to be oneself? What assumptions are accurate? What’s been an act all along? It’s a period of her life, and on the album, that’s deconstructive and lighter in tone, all while being abstract. Songs like parallel are meant to occupy two realities or timelines: the then and the now (the now being the only timeline that matters.) With the penultimate thank you, Murray creates an ode to close friends who’ve been supportive all along, whose positivity continue to bring comfort. Finally on see u again, Murray leaves us with a peaceful yet dissonant closer about living your truth and everything that comes with it. Including all the bad feelings that can creep in from time to time.
Yesterday & Tomorrow is a beat tape like no other, an intimate epic about Murray’s past and future. Although deeply personal, there’s a message for all of us to internalize: no matter how dark things get, there’s always hope. Even when you think it’s completely out of reach.
Artwork By: Rudemanners