Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Ghost by Matt Stevens

‘Ghost’ by Matt Stevens

Eleven | Matt StevensImage from:

Matt Stevens is an Artist who has become a leading light in modern music that can be found on Web 2.0. Obviously with a statement such as that, Stevens has made full use of the modern arsenal of music promotion available to today’s liberated artists. By using Twitter and Facebook, he has created a buzz about his music both solo and with the amazing ‘Fierce and the Dead’ combo (look out for the astonishing ‘Part 1’ release  - www.fierceandthedead.com ) , collaborative efforts such as the innovative Cafenoodle (http://cafenoodle.ning.com/ ), and by clever use of online gigs and public rehearsals via Ustream. Well known for his use of live and recorded looping techniques, Stevens is beginning to widen and improve his creative vision exponentially.

Matt’s First album, ‘Echo’  had all the nascent hallmarks found in the new release, with’ Ghost’ taking these and running with them to stunning effect and progression. This is mood music for all moods; Impressively standing as serious evening music but also working on a hot summers day, defining the room where it is being listened in. Stevens Wears his influences on his sleeve quite apparently sometimes, such as on leading track ‘Unto the Sea’ with its overt Radiohead influence, but doesn’t suffer as a result, quite the reverse in fact. Some bands and artists create genres, others to follow; with this release Matt has just about managed the former.

 Some releases stand as creative islands in a sea of thoughtless repetition and ‘Ghost’ is and will increasingly become one such artistic pinnacle. Stevens realises this vision by the use of melody lines that are sometimes playful with the key/chords of the song and using chromatic scales to limit, such as in ‘Eleven’ or ‘Big Sky’. Alternatively the slow build of the Loops created,  such as on ‘Late Man’ , evoke an acoustic blessed out Metallica.

Clever use of colour washes of Keyboards and gentle transients of glockenspiel perfectly fill out the sound; the odd stab of Fripp style laser guided guitar, as on ‘Draw’ also add atmosphere; and more fully realised arrangements such as the penguin cafe Orchestra – (‘Big Sky’ again)

Ghost is a far more mature, multi-faceted release, which sees him finding his true artistic and creative voice, integrating influences more fluidly and satisfactorily and if he maintains this creative purple patch, provides a platform for even greater achievements to come.

If you are a fan of electronic, proggy sounds, dramatic chord progressions, awash with delicate Latin overtones, then album this is for you, don’t wait, hop over to www.mattstevensguitar.com  and get yourself the download and limited CD release now!

You can tell Matt how much you love this album on Twitter- @mattstevensloop. Go on say hi!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The venue

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Posted via email from The Stumpy Bunker


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Fripp and Travis play Burlesque Cathedral

Fripp and Travis Play Burlesque Cathedral
Robert Fripp And Theo Travis Bath Speigeltent June 5th 2010

View; front row table  on Travis side, directly opposite Fripp

Having been involved in writing a song called ‘Cirkus’ it was always going to be a poser as to what experience seeing Smiling Bobby Wilcox perform in a tent. Would the duo react and adapt their music to these unusual surroundings? For a duo and their music more suited to sacred spaces large and small would this evening have more of an element of the profane?
And what a tent it was! Abundant wood panelling and mirrors, a stained- glass rotunda. It had the form of a church, but aligning with far more bawdy concerns, a cathedral of the Burlesque, perhaps. Plush red velvet curtains draped seductively to cover the  circular ceiling, a crimson ring, if you will (ahem).

The duo seemed in good spirits as they stepped onto the stage. Beginning with a slightly angular dissonant shortish piece, one felt they were feeling their way in the venue and exploring where it could take them. The attentive and respectful audience were almost too polite to clap, but eventually settled in too. A longer second piece allowed the music to breathe, and the soundscape-based  music, in waves of somewhat circular motion, began to mirror the shape of the room.

After a very short musical interlude, which seemed to surprise performers and audience alike, to their delight, a very aquatic sounding soundscape began. It was at this point a presence seemed to want to flit in and around the performance, taking interest in the music, or vice versa, and the piece erupted (making at least one audience member jump) into something very reminiscent of a band we all know and love. It was a truly back of neck hair erection moment, and bodes very well for the imminent ProjeKct featuring these two. The presence flitted around the room, visiting two or three times; not just in the form of angular rifferama, but in more delicate reflective moments.

Further pieces explored the potential of the venue; Travis sending flute trills to flutter around the stained glass rotunda to settle where they would; A piece that so wanted to be a slanted version of the standard ‘Summertime’ apt considering the perfect summer eveneing; a percussive finale full of beautiful menace; and finally channelling the bawd that had threatened for so long, with slinky sax moments form Travis.

An unexpected encore finally began after a few glance between the two with a Fripp utterance ‘alright then’, and was a series of swapped solos, venous initially but slowly sending the night into calm as it progressed, ending with faltering staccatos to the amusement of all.

 The duo seemed to have enjoyed this one, producing a playful performance that searched for and found its place eventually; at times venomous, playful joyous and reflective, it was a tremendous sensuous feast for the soul.

Fleshpots of Bath indeed.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Muisc Industry 2.0 - How choosing music has changed for the consumer

Well, internet 2.0 certainly has shaken things up a bit , hasn't it? Never before has there been such a wealth of easily accessible free, or very cheap music available for mass or 'more selective' (copyright Spinal Tap) consumption. The music business industry is changing, kicking and screaming  in the case of the majors (Warner Brothers completely miss the point in not allowing paid for streaming of its artists!) into a modern age.
The sheer amount of music out there produced in home studios, bedrooms and box rooms does however present a problem for the music lover looking for their next musical adventure. A lot of musical output these days is very well recorded thanks to modern easy to use technology (you can even Hum songs instrument by instrument into your iphone now!  voiceband ) and have quite acceptable production standards to boot.

So, the question is, how can you possibly wade through all this output to find the music that matters to you, something that you can invest your precious time in and feel its worthwhile? Previously you would watch 'Top of the Pops' or read the NME or 'Q', or possibly listen to the radio. The fact that most scheduled radio is absolutely lowest common denominator these days ( and internet radio faces the same problems as choosing new music for yourself due to the plethora of micro stations playing everything from death metal ambient to SKA punk jazz), means that there is too little  (or too much!) choice out there.

One solution is exploring social networking sites such as Facebook or My favourite, Twitter.  We all have classic bands and artists that we love and by joining the various groups and lists that gather together people with similar tastes is a good starting point.
indeed, 2 artists I  have discovered via twitter such as Matt Stevens (@mattstevensloop), a very good guitarist/composer who also has a lot of interesting stuff to say as well. Currently he is running his #sundayfreenoodle series on Twitter- a series of excellent tracks that have found a home that otherwise may have remained on the shelf. Its the type of interaction between artist and fan/consumer that Twitter and the like can generate, and which in itself can generate ground roots interest and more imnportantly for the artist, sales with links to Bandcamp and Sound Cloud .

The second artist is the band Left Below and their Porcupine Tree/Tool  inspired '21st century cinematic rock'. their cd can be purchased on CDBaby . They also have a series of interesting remixes downloadable for free on their site. @leftbelow

I'm sure both artists are more than happy for you to contact and interact with them, you might even like their music enough to buy some from them!

Of course blog entries such as this can also help to generate small scale (and larger scale in some instances ), so please write about the music you like, and spread the word!

Posted via email from The Stumpy Bunker