Saturday, March 24, 2012

REVIEW// Matthewdavid: Jewellery EP

'Jewellery' is the new release from Matthewdavid, Matthew McQueen's boundary-pushing electronic beat project. The twenty minute long beat-tape is composed of eight remixes, or 'flips', but before now the Atlanta-born producer had never really excited me, his debut album 'Outmind' fantastically experimental, but let down by his overwhelming, sprawling desire for unnecessary complexity. The result was a record that lacked cohesion and left the listener with a headache rather than on an hallucinogenic high. Fuzzy and undefined album art defined McQueen's sound, which makes the cover to 'Jewellery' all the more exciting! Influential hip hop artist Rakim graces both 'Jewellery's sleeve and the music within it, his voice sampled for 'Locket (Chi Flip)'. This hip hop influence on the EP is undeniable, given close friend Flying Lotus' exploration of the genre. Thrown into the mix however is an eclectic combination of sensibilities, tied down with layers of texture to potentially wring an appealing abstraction from the unconscious mind.

It's impressive and intriguing on paper, but the flaw in its construction is still its structural composition. A little more direction might have detracted from the EP's unpredictable nature, but at the same time it may have given aim to the aimless and purpose to the purposeless. The balance between these two ideas is delicately wrought by Matthewdavid, improving on 'Outmind' but still a little way off capturing the perfect suggestive experience, dependent on the listener's complete and unparalleled absorption. McQueen is at his best when the song he 'flips' is at its most recognisable, sticking out of the track like a light in the dark. The EP opens in such a fashion, Mick Jagger's timeless 'Miss You' crooning its way amongst the looped vocals and tempo changes. Skipping past 'Rolex's uninteresting sample and 'Pendant's quelling of what might have been an engaging dance sound, we come back to substantial structure. Instead of a vocal clip, we're dealt a steady beat in 'Medallion', which pushes blood through this close-to-dire record.

As before, there are some good elements to 'Jewellery', an hypnotic throb to 'Diamond Ring' prevailing effortlessly to conclude the EP, and an interesting interview dissolving into the crackle and noise of age. Without integrated order however the sparse and spatial quickly becomes boring, and the dependence on texture for detail often precedes an obscure sonic muddle. If you're looking for a solely experimental effort, a label to which Matthewdavid stands up, then explore 'Jewellery' further. For me though, however boundary-pushing McQueen is trying to be, he fails to spread the decoration of this new room evenly. It's a free beat-tape so stream 'Gold Rope' below and if you wish, grab a free download of the EP over here!