GROWING up listening to a mixture of Jean-Michel Jarre and Jimmy Smith, Matt Robertson certainly had a good early primer in the weirder beauties of music; big-screen synthesiser worlds, the grooviest, cinematic organ jazz (you mean you haven’ heard Jimmy Smith’s The Cat?)
Matt studied at the University of Surrey and matriculated into the arcane world of the recording studio, learning how to both fix and build his own synths – a strong skill for a budding electronica explorer. He’s worked as musical director for Björk, Cinematic Orchestra, Arca, and Anohni; so there’s some skills and appreciation of dynamics. There’s also work for Bat For Lashes and Anoushka Shankar on his considerable CV.
Based these days in Canada, Matt is set to add to his personal canon, a slowly evolving discography that begins in 2011’s Forecast, since when he’s added the digital-only In Echelon in 2016 and 2018’s Entology, both of which latter contain big, big, scopes, sweeping and gorgeously designed soundscapes, à la Jon Hopkins.
He’s got a new album called Enveleau out at the end of the month and he’s just dropped a candid, live-in-the-studio take on the lovely sweep of “Bees”, for which, gear-spotters, he details the kit employed in the video title. That’s down below.
“I love how the sonics of some records immediately put the listener in a comfortable space – just from the sound of an opening chord, you can be placed in a space and time,” he says.
“I am trying to achieve something similar to this on Enveleau, really concentrating on what the sounds make you feel, as a separate thing to what the harmony and the pitch make you feel.
“I’ve used a lot of different recordings I made outside, including natural textures wrapped into the drum sounds. It gives the record a sense of place.
“Enveleau is a word I am taking to mean a sense of envelopment in your surroundings, and trying to take some comfort in that. In a sense, gratitude. The name also has a lot to do with water and how it flows along the easiest path.”
And as for “Bees”? It’s woody, modular, has both feet pointing at a loose turn around the floor; maybe backlit in a forest clearing, ideally.
It has that lazy, jazz-inflected swing you maybe last delighted in on Jon Hopkins’ “Open Eye Signal”. It’s equally potent for a soiree shuffle, come such a time on these shores, throwing insouciant, used-to-neck-gurners-me shapes with remembered joy.
A verry adept sound designer he is, we can take it as read; I can’t wait to hear this pumping through speakers freakishly loud, bobbing in the spatial effects and the pure sonics.
If old-skool British acid and ambient techno floats your boat, and let’s face it, it’s such a halcyon era for the genre, mostly never bettered; get yourself Enveleau. Maybe only the redoubtable Mr Hopkin is operating with this retrotronic acid grandeur and deliciousness in the field.
Matt Robertson’s Enveleau will be released by Subtempo digitally and on vinyl on April 30th; you can order yours from the label over at Bandcamp, now.
Watch out for our review of Envelau on the morning of April 26th.