Track: Matt Robertson – ‘Kalimba’: a grand, chattering, acid sweep

Matt Robertson, photographed by Annie Forest

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?)

After university, Matt matriculated into the world of the recording studio. He’s worked as musical director for Björk, Cinematic Orchestra, Arca, and Anohni; so there’s some skills and appreciation of dynamics.

As a player, with an enviable collection of vintage, modern and DIY synths, you can hear his work on film scores including Steve Jobs, for Daniel Pemberton; and The Hunt and American Assassin for Steven Price.

Based these days in Canada, Matt is set to add to his personal canon, a slowly evolving discography that begins in 2011’s Forecast (take a listen to “After”, delicious and modular), since when he’s added the digital-only In Echelon in 2016 and 2018’s Entology (take a dive into the eeriness of “Domino”), both with big, big, scopes, sweeping and gorgeously designed soundscapes, à la Jon Hopkins. The new album’s called Enveleau, and it’s out at the end of April.

As an unveiling sonic drop, come delight in “Kalimba”, a first single from that forthcoming set.

“Kalimba” hangs its hook on a Philip Glass-like circular brass trill, a simple four-note bass that mutates and metastisizes with a thrillingly acid tone sweep; distorts, ignites, crescendos; drops us over the peak into the next valley, a much busier, almost deep house kinda place, where the rhythm pitter-patters, trips, resets, swings an appreciative arm, hand patterning from the wrist.

It’s all a little bit Future Sound of London or Deep Forest, and these are entirely noble ambitions. Nineties’ techno kicked into a new century. Later, the chattering bass once again flames into acid tonality, raises a little involuntary snarl of satisfaction. Whoahoah, yes.

“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,” Matt 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.”

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.

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