‘Moments Before’ casts Matt Bartram on a sea full of low slung shoe gazed waves and anti static walls of noise. I reviewed his fourth record ‘The Dreaming Invisible’ for this site in 2013. Back then I was wondering how he made such a big sound out of small means. Now I imagine I can ride the vapour trails his aqueous soundscapes formulate.
It visualises itself in the nature of new wave St. Vincent. Gorgeous liquid harmony, it’s a place with no excess, primarily settled in glazed surf pop, with elements of Caribou also whisked in the mix. The function of Bartrams voice seems to be the instrumental chewing gum that gets stuck to the mouth of the well engineered synths. It wouldn’t be out of place round here on a set of Slowdive demos for the Eno co-produced Souvlaki album.
To this extent, Matt can be connected in kindred spirit to the etherealness of that bands front man, Neil Halstead. He’s complimenting the same auto didactic ideal, being comfortable with controlling everything by the end as much by himself as possible. He’ll possibly always be a drifter, but ‘Moments Before’ stakes it’s claim as one of the best recent albums that I own. Go catch a wave, then come to the shore with this gem.
So much of a recording’s effectiveness hinges on its mix—the spatial distribution of instruments, the layering of sounds, decisions regarding emphasis and de-emphasis, overall dimensionality—but such considerations assume even greater importance when shoegaze is involved. With the volume amped high, finding a way to achieve clarity in the mix and differentiation between elements poses an even greater challenge, and the producer must work hard to avoid muddiness.
Matt Bartram, highly regarded as a songwriter associated with the shoegaze and dream pop genres, shows that he’s fully cognizant of such concerns on his fourth full-length release, Moments Before. The one-time Air Formation and current You Walk Through Walls member has fashioned an eight-song collection that should most definitely appeal to devotees of Flying Saucer Attack, Slowdive, Curve, Lush, and My Bloody Valentine, in addition to Bartram’s own group projects.
As one would expect given how integral guitar is to shoegaze, full-bodied swarms are present throughout, but Bartram is careful to ensure they don’t overpower everything else. His breathy, reverb-drenched vocals, chugging synthesizers, and drums remain clearly audible even when the six-string roar is at its most intense. Though Moments Before evolved out of experimental excursions recorded in his home studio, the tracks are first and foremost songs built up from melodies and enhanced by lead and background vocal interplay. Admittedly, you’ll have to strain to decipher the lyrics when “Break It” works itself into a feedback-lace swoon, but the ride’ll be no less pleasurable for you’re having done so.
As loud as Moments Before often is, it’s not a relentless assault. No fool he, Bartram recognizes how effective a recording is when contrasts of dynamics, tempo, and volume are worked into the set-list. Consequently, in addition to the expected heavy-hitters, we’re treated to ballads such as “Walls Around You,” “Visualise,” and the beautiful closer “A Moment Before,” tracks that soothe the ear with a (relatively) gentler, serenading attack without betraying the album’s style. Bartram’s clearly a deft hand at crafting a shoegaze production, but as impressive is the album’s sequencing; his strong feel for pacing is shown in the way the material advances from one stage to the next, plus there’s something to be said for the concision of an eight-song release when albums are so often weakened by bloat.— Textura
Matt Bartram is unstoppable. Last year gave life to his new band You Walk Through Walls , in mid- Air Formation revived and now, aimed at 2016, announces his next solo material: Moments Before. This production will be the fourth in the side of the British shoegaze solo musician, and will hit the market next January in CD and digital formats. Here you can listen via Spotify, his first single entitled ‘Dissolve’ Translated from Sound & Vision
The new single “Dissolve” from Matt Bartram is out today. This is the first single off of his forthcoming full length due out in January. Available from all the digital outlets or directly from us via the Drifting Falling Bandcamp page. Turn it up and enjoy!
London-based musician Matt Bartram is best known as the creative mastermind behind the much-beloved Air Formation, who split almost exactly a year ago in April 2011, to much dismay. However, anyone truly familiar with Matt and his work knew that this was certainly not the end of his musical endeavors. Over the past 13 years, Matt has proven to be one of the most prolific, consistent and respected songwriters of the second wave of shoegazing. Never the sort of musician to remain quiet, always feeling the need to keep moving forward, Matt has also released music under the project name The Static Silence (a collaboration with Rachel Goldstar of Experimental Aircraft, Eau Claire and All in the Golden Afternoon), as well as remixed tracks for Kontakte and Monster Movie (the enduring project from Christian Savill of Slowdive). He’s also released several solo albums, these being more experimental excursions recorded mainly at home. These include 2008’s highly lauded Arundel and it’s follow up, 2009’s Left to Memory, which features some of Matt’s most compelling work to date. Matt’s newest project, You Walk Through Walls, formed with fellow Air Formation alumnus James Harrison (together with Harry Irving) was announced following the early 2011 news about the split of Air Formation, and Bartram fans have waited anxiously for a taste of what’s to come. Y You Walk Through Walls’ debut EP is slated to be released via Club AC30 this summer. Two new tracks from the EP were released this week via Soundcloud (you can find them in the body of the interview) to overwhelming critical acclaim, and excitement continues to build as we all wait to hear the EP in it’s full and final form. Please enjoy the following interview with Matt Bartram, a truly lovely fellow. Cheers. Read more
Ik onderstreep het nog maar een keer: voor hedendaagse droommuziek moet je bij het Drifting Falling label zijn! Ze brengen de ene na de andere droomplaat uit, waarbij de genres variëren van singer-songwritermuziek en minimal tot shoegazermuziek. Tot die laatste categorie hoort de muziek van de Britse muzikant Matt Bartram. Hij is één van de ambassadeurs van de tweede generatie shoegazers geworden. Dat heeft hij 11 jaar lang laten horen met de eerder dit jaar ontbonden band Air Formation, maar ook in The Static Silence samen met Rachel Goldstar gaat hij al shoegazend te keer. Overigens heeft Air Formation al een vervolg gekregen dat You Walk Through Walls heet en waarin ook Matt terug te vinden is. In 2008 laat hij voor het eerst solo van zich horen met de sterke cd Arundel. Een jaar later krijgt dit een nog mooier en dromeriger vervolg met Left To Memory. Tussendoor blijft hij ook gewoon actief met zijn andere bands. Toch heeft hij tijd gevonden om weer een volgende album te maken met de veelzeggende titel The Dreaming Invisible……... Hij heeft in tegenstelling tot zijn vorige cd’s geen zang en drums gebruikt, enkel gitaar en effecten. Hiermee weet hij zwoele en tegelijkertijd desolate klanklandschappen te fabriceren waarvan je mond openvalt. De muziek is nog dromeriger dan voorheen; sterker nog, het is zelfs zo dromerig dat het moeilijk is geconcentreerd een recensie te schrijven. Meer dan ooit gaat de muziek richting de ambient, die opgebouwd wordt door drones, versnipperde shoegaze elementen en softnoise. Van de muziek gaat een zuigende werking uit, wat mede door de sterke opbouw in spiraalerende laagjes komt. Als in een muzikale draaikolk wordt je langzaam meegesleurd naar een surreële, maar wonderschone plek die vooral in je onderbewuste ergens lijkt te bestaan. Het is spannend,diepgaand, meeslepend, wonderschoon en gewoonweg compleet overrompelend. Hoewel de muziek een geheel eigen identiteit heeft, moet je om een idee te krijgen denken aan een hypnotiserende combinatie van subtractiveLAD, Yellow6, Tomas Weiss, Slowdive, Air Formation, Windy & Carl, Labradford en Flying Saucer Attack. Zie dan je mond maar weer eens dicht te krijgen. Matt Bartram levert een verbluffende en meesterlijke cd af. Zijn allermooiste en beste cd (op de cover na dan) tot nu toe!
Although better known as the frontman for Brighton’s Air Formation, Matt Bartram has actually been making music in his own right for the past two years. Last year’s low-key release Arundel proved to be a seminal introduction which combined ambient melancholy with distilled electronica and Left To Memory, released earlier this month, takes his panoramic musical vision one step further. Take the album’s centrepiece, ‘Twelve String Loop’, for example; a glorious washed-out slab of voluptuous guitar ambience that features Christian Savill, formerly of Slowdive. Its angelic sounds join the record together like heavenly rivets, while the compellingly claustrophobic ‘Another Wave’ adds another string to Bartram’s already over-populated bow.
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As one half of The Static Silence, Matt Bartram represents the lighter side of shoegazing with the emphasis on songs rather than effects. As a solo artist, though, Bartram reveals a very different side to the story with his music knee deep in layers of noise.
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“Left To Memory” is the sound of one man baring his soul underneath a train station. Where lush meets loud, noise becomes soothing, and sublime becomes uplifting. More than exceptional, “Left To Memory” is resplendent, imaginative, & refreshing. For fans of Air Formation, Auburn Lull, Spacemen 3, The British Expeditionary Force, Bowery Electric, July Skies, Soul Whirling Somewhere, etc. Rec-omm-ended.
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