To celebrate the release of the new Gnar Hest album Void Rider, and as it’s Bank Holiday and it suits my mood everyone here at thisyearinmusic towers has decided to put our collective heads together and pick some highlight from Matt’s previous musical guises. To call Matt’s output prolific is not only a disservice to his release rate and to the definition of the word. So far this year he’s released three albums, one single, EP and compilation and rumour has it there are more releases on the horizon.
First up there its Klad Hest. Matt describes the album Impaled Breath as “electro jams”. This is a pretty astute description. Musically it’s a psychotic soundtrack to a video game that was never made. Fast paced, action packed addictive sum it up pretty well. This Streets of Rage on speed and seven pints of snakebite suicide!
Fairnorns-Satan Replicant was the first release that showed Matt’s vision and scope. While this is ultimately an EP, it’s four tracks clock in just less than thirty minutes. The sound is a lot more lo-fi doom noise than the prog electro mutant disco of the 2012 album Doki-Doki-Run. Out of all of Matt’s output this is one that has probably been played the most at thisyeairnmusic towers.
After listening to Knife Liibrary-Drowners you think “YES! He’s bloody nailed it!” for thirty nine minutes its down tempo piano, a bit of organ and howling vocals, with those goose bump giving eerie chants in the background. Matt describes it as “reacting against the timidness of so much acoustic music”. The piano and vocals were recorded in a café after it’d had closed. This gives is an haunting quality that makes it impossible to forget after you’ve heard it.
After Knife Liibrary, you sometimes want something more bombastic, but the MXLX-Go Away is the perfect follow up. Call them companion pieces of bookends, but they do work well back to back. It’s a very acoustic album, guitar and vocals, and not much else. Unlike Drowners there is dark humour that pervades it. While this isn’t for everyone one it’s one of the most complete and concise albums that Matt has made. Next to Knife Liibrary this is essential listening.
While a lot of what Matt does is him sitting on his own in a pantheon of keyboards, guitars, amps, overfilled ashtrays*, Speed the Plough is him in a band. A really, really heavy band. After his previous releases the two Speed the Plough releases feel like anomalies, but it’s just another extension of Matt’s experimental doom sensibility. Sadly the chance of new Speed the Plough releases is slightly limited as two of the members are in London and Matt’s in Bristol, but we all live in hope.
* This is how I picture him making music anyway
In March matt releases a new MXLX single. This had the cryptic title of I Set in Motion a Course of Strings Over the Abyss and Let the Sonorities Bellow Forth in Dysphoric Jubilee. While it only contained two tracks they are possibly the most condensed MXLX tracks out there. The A-Side opens to the sound of knives being sharpened, gas escaping and faux-Gregorian chants, then it gets down to business. The B-Side is more ethereal and dreamlike.
Fairhorns-FUCKUP RUSH is looking like being the album of the year. It’s been three years since the last Fairhorns long payer Doki Doki Run. While that was a a Kraut-Prog mutant disco doom folk bonanza, this time Matt’s gone for a more electronic Motorik John Carpenter vibe. The music is hard aggressive, but the lyrics really showcase Matt’s ability to turn a phrase, and write a catchy chorus. At first the album seems random and jam like, but as the sleeve notes says “Everything is intentional”. On this Fairhorns album Matt is starting to live up to his initial promise and releasing forward thinking music that not only pummels you into submission, but is enjoyable to play whatever your mood.
The latest addition to Matt’s burgeoning back catalogue is Gnar Hest-Void Rider. Like with the Klad Hest releases the music sounds to be inspired by retro video game music. However unlike Klad Hest everything was painfully and systematically planned out and programmed by hand. No midi keyboards were harmed in the making of Void Rider. This is another step forward for Matt.