‘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!
"The Longed For Season" is When The Clouds debut release. The music within is melancholy Post Rock with electronics intertwined as well as a few other lush/atmospheric stratiforms. The overall vibe is a soundtrack to a nice breezy day where your worries are no longer an issue.
Francesco Galano makes an auspicious debut with his half-hour When The Clouds EP The Longed-For Season. The Salerno, Italy-based producer has been involved in music-making since the age of thirteen and issued his first demo in 2004 under the name Eid Ethyca. The six preternaturally assured settings that constitute his Drifting Falling coming-out exude no shortage of finesse and pastoral charm, with Galano uniting acoustic instruments (glockenspiel, guitar, bass, piano) and electronic sounds into melancholic and graceful wholes. Though textural enhancements are present, they’re used judiciously so as to serve the melodic framework of the track in question. The focus, in short, is on melody first and foremost, and specifically quietly euphoric melodies at that. Averaging about five minutes in length, every one of the six instrumentals is song-length too.
If anyone thought shoegazing and post-rock was becoming a less important art form, no one told Drifting Falling who have been putting out superior releases for the last couple of years. An addition to that list is Francesco Galano and his new recording under the name of When The Clouds.
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