Matthew Dear- Beams

Read about the album below or on Pop ‘stache.

Matthew Dear, 33 year old electronic avant-garde music producer from Texas and Detroit, is preparing for the release of his fifth full length LP Beams. The short trailer for his album sets up a conceptual feeling, one of self-definition, mystery and vacant vision. Beams calls for the integration of light interpretations with audible observations; but how vaguely or literally the album is experienced is up to you.

Dear has an extensive history in music production. He is now on his third release with Ghostly International, an experimental music label that he created with fellow electronic music lover Sam Valenti IV. In addition he has released two albums on sister label Spectra Sound. Audion and Jabberjaw, his heavier techno projects, have also seen numerous releases on these labels from ’04-’09. Let it be noted that Dear has (apart from Audion in 2003) only released material on his own labels, conforming to nobody but him and his own. This is certainly reflected in his unique sound. Unlike many other successful DJs, his music doesn’t exhibit over-production qualities nor does it steer towards a commercial sound. Matthew Dear is experimental as ever with the hectically arranged “Overtime,” while claiming his style for certain with the clean beats and transitory melodies of “Get the Rhythm Right” and “Ahead of Myself.”

Beams explores new melodies, which is a confident tangent from the mostly minor-key, low pitched tunes of 2010’s LP Black City. “Do the Right Thing” (hear above) is a beautiful example of Dear fusing his signature beat styles with a more melodic tone, not unlike something a slightly sedated Dan Deacon might create. These beats sound slightly more chaotic but are for the most part controlled. To his sound I imagine lines of men rustling deep-percussion chains on the ground, each step dragging them closer into a river of menacing choral riffs. Each percussive layer interweaves with the next- often in rhythmic half-time- which develops into a rolling and diverse beat pattern that Dear has come to be known for.

Matthew Dear’s music compares to that of other contemporary electronic musicians like Nicolas Jaar and Gold Panda, however defining differences include Dear’s deep-toned voice which, along with other elements of dominant bass, works through a variety of beats to create a special calamity in every track. There exists a pop element to some of his tracks as well; listen for example to “Her Fantasy,” the first album track and the second released single. Exemplifying diversity even further, Dear’s second track “Earthforms” (hear below) abandons much of his techno-beat style for one more akin to Beck or Radiohead. This is not a rock album though, this is electronic and musical experimentation, and it cares little about pleasing everyone.

Beams flirts with being a party album, however its true listenership falls on the accidental late night porch get-togethers, where bench-swinging and music-sharing roam. The music speaks to explorers of ideas and life and sound. By the end of the album, it’s clear that Dear is on par with Douglas Adams’ ideology of change and innovation for sustainable life, evident in both the album’s meaning and execution. Fourth track “Fighting Is Futile” says it best: “Take a trip on something else…and move on from yourself at times.”


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