Matthew Dear’s ‘Headcage EP’, available now, stands as a testament to the New Yorker’s work as a relentless songwriter, producer and in a new light, collaborator. Working with other producers and vocalists as well as mixing/tracking at Nicolas Vernhes' famed Rare Book Room studio has lent ‘Headcage’ an openness and poise to the four songs presented here. Our last look at Matthew Dear's creative cycle was the fathoms-deep starkness of his 2010 album, ‘Black City’. A triumph of slowly imploding romanticism, ‘Black City’ was ultimately just another step in Dear's creative evolution from his breakthrough ‘Asa Breed’ (2007) and his Detroit-meets-Berlin minimal techno of ‘Leave Luck to Heaven’ (2003). The vision found in this EP is a likely harbinger for Dear's full-length, ‘Beams’, which is due out this year.
‘Headcage’ leads with a dense, mutating cluster of breaths, whispers and assorted technicolor sounds until it coalesces into a hearty chug. The song gets an added aural heft from co-producers Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, a Swedish partnership notable for work on albums like Blonde Redhead's ‘Penny Sparkle’, Glasser's ‘Ring’ and Fever Ray's self-titled record. The unabashed melodic thrust of the lead vocals by Jonny Pierce (of Brooklyn outfit The Drums) makes ‘In the Middle (I Met You There)’ one of Dear's most perfect—and unique—pop creations. The first duet in Dear's decade-long career, the dopamine flies when Dear's baritone kicks in. ‘Street Song’ forgoes percussion and propulsion for a drifting, intoxicated reverie of an exotic melodic phrase, bubbling bass and Dear's falsetto. Something perhaps culled from a late night reverie heard from a window, or an imagined city long gone. ‘Around A Fountain’ offers a dubby low end and claustrophobic atmosphere, but Dear's voice leavens the darkness, rounding out the EP with hymn-like whisper.
Matthew Dear's latest audio/video excursion for ‘In The Middle (I Met You There)’ comes again from London-based director Morgan Beringer, whose first abstraction was created with ‘Headcage’ as the guide. The director gives us another heavily layered smear of what almost looks like thin sheets of ice changing color and patterns. The light continues to shine brighter than Dear's darker shades of 2010's ‘Black City’.
Matthew and his band have confirmed shows in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (coming soon) to premiere new material from Beams. He also headlines some DJ gigs in Australia and America, dates below:
01.20 Perth, AU @ Likes of You *
01.21 Brisbane, AU @ Bar Some *
01.22 Wellington, NZ @ Sandwiches *
01.25 Melbourne, AU @ Novel *
01.26 Sydney, AU @ Agwa Yacht Club *
02.24 San Francisco, CA @ Noise Pop Festival +
03.02 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom +
03.07 Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall* +
03.14 Austin, TX @ Club Deville (Ghostly Showcase) ^
03.16 - 03.17 SxSw Festival +
04.13 Chicago, IL @ Spy Bar *
04.14 St. Louis, MO @ 2720 Cherokee *
04.20 Miami, FL @ Electric Pickle *
04.21 El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace *
* DJ Set
+ Live Band
^ w/ Tycho, Choir of Young Believers, Com Truise, Mux Mool, Shigeto