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Worth a Close Listen

Meet the local musical duo resort realism

Modern relaxation music — what is it? Many of us initially learn about the greats, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and other familiar composers of baroque and romantic styles. But nowadays, if someone asks us to put on something “relaxing,” and the situation seems to call for something local and unique, we suggest resort realism’s new self-titled album, released just this spring. 

The duo known as resort realism consists of Crawford King and Robert Wason, two Birminghamians who attended the Altamont School and played in the jazz band together, then eventually got involved in other musical projects. After their drum-playing bandmate ended up departing for graduate school, Crawford and Robert found themselves making a new kind of music, using drum machines. While employing such sounds began out of necessity, they said resort realism was fortuitously discovered through those very sessions. Crawford and Robert now call the music of resort realism “post Lo-Fi,” and said their influences are wide, including an assortment of jazz, classic rap and hip-hop. Artists such as Air and Massive Attack and “bands that slow it way down” are favorites as well. 

“Instead of us playing jazz straight-up, we take a snippet of something with jazzy chords and make it hypnotic,” they explained. “A lot of early rap was taken from old funk and jazz, so we circle back and use some of that stuff. But while our influences are wide, we try to keep the sound of resort realism specific.” 

The resort realism self-titled first album was recorded in the duo’s home studio, right here in Irondale. Crawford and Robert, both self-proclaimed night owls, are apt to start jamming music and not stop for hours at a time, they admitted — no talking; no nothing else except for playing. 

“After a certain amount of time, your mind gets out of the way, and more interesting things happen [if you keep playing],” they said. “Late at night, in particular, it seems to be effective. 

“Half was recorded in a little tiny closet room, back when we had another roommate, but now we control the whole house and have a multimedia workspace. We also have a green screen to make music videos,” Crawford added. 

The term “multimedia” is used frequently these days, but in the case of resort realism, these two musicians work hard to ensure their name and tunes appear on a variety of media platforms, from Spotify and Bandcamp to YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. “We try to hit the online frontier every day and snag new people however we can,” Crawford said. 

Other plans for resort realism include a second full-length album by 2022, as well as a couple of singles even sooner. Live shows are happily once again an option, and Crawford and Robert look forward to a few this summer after a recent one at Avondale Brewing, the first since the pandemic. 

Because resort realism is instrumental, it works nicely as background music for cooking a meal or working at home — but it’s also well worth actively listening.

“What do people do while listening? Night driving strikes us — especially when we’re making the music at night; we’ve talked about that,” they mused. “If you’re having a conversation with someone, and you don’t want words interrupting you, it’s also good for that. So, yeah, it’s great background music for whatever you’re doing … but close listening is also good.” 


  • Left to right: Crawford King, Robert Wason
  • Left to right, Robert Wason and Crawford King