What’s that you say? Another EP by Bristol’s experimental bon vivant?
Matt Loveridge, AKA MXLX, has returned with another hunk of experimentalism for our enjoyment. How many times this year have I rewritten this sentence? I dread not to think because that would only be the tip of Loveridge’s incredible output. This time he has refined his prodigious touch into twenty five minutes of jarring discord that contradicts as much as it entertains.
I Aim to Understand Nothing kicks off in fine MXLX with This is No Place For Me. Ambient noises that sound like knives being sharpened, a classic MXLX motif, morphs into what sounds like the scratching of a record, while in the back ground humming instruments transform into glitchy bleeps and blips. So I Am Leaving transitions perfectly and the blips and beeps get more regimented and organised until it sounds like multiple games of Tetris being played at once. That is until its halfway mark signals a change in arrangement and Loveridge’s haunting vocals wash over us, adding another macabre element.
Everything Behind features slow premediated basslines, which stalk drone like chanting, while surface noise pops and glitches all around us. It’s as terrifying as it is alluring. This is the power of, not just Loveridge, but of his music. While he is showing us the darker side of our collective nature, he is also treating us to warm tender moments. And All Will Be Well is seven minutes of cacophonous maelstroms, eerie voices that sound like their speaking in tongues until it silently throbs and pulses out at the end.
I Aim to Understand Nothing is the musical version of MC Esher’s classic frieze Metamorphosis. Just when you think you have a handle on what’s going it, through dexterous and savvy production techniques, it starts to change and mutate into the next section of its life cycle. Together the tracks and title spell out “I Aim to Understand Nothing. This is No Place For Me So I am Leaving Everthing Behind And All Will Be Well.” While this is a slightly worrying insight into Loveridege’s headspace, in a way it’s everything we’ve come to expect from him. We always knew he was darkly comic right, and this is just another tongue in cheek reminder of it. This could be the most concise and cohesive release of Loveridge’s career to date. It bubbles with a musical paean seldom seen and heard in these semi disposable times of soundbites and jingles. While it’s not an easy listen it is rewarding after repeat listens, you just need to put in the effort and you’ll understand its labyrinthine patterns.