Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Matthew Maaskant should be Matthew Maas-can

Okay - time to get back on the horse here before bambino #2 totally derails things and I stop listening to new music and spend all my time singing 'rock-a-by-baby' (which, when you consider the lyrics, is a pretty creepy song).

Matthew Maaskant's Believe It Or Not, This Is The Place is a quiet, restrained album that has made its way into my head and heart since it arrived March 28th at the station. This isn't an album that hits you over the head with its greatness, or holds up a sign that says 'NOTICE ME,' but insistently burrows into the folds of your thoughts and takes up residence.

Opener "Katie Cruel," with its piercing viola notes creates a feeling of unease that is softened by Maaskant's gentle vocals - a sonic balance that he deftly achieves throughout the record. And when he intones "here I am where I must be," the sentiment can be taken as an artistic statement that this truly is "the place" the album's title alludes to.

Blending strings, electronic elements and more with his 'folk' (and I use the term loosely - this isn't Bruce Cockburn we're talking about here), Maaskant's sound is unique, but strangely familiar - and because of his experience as a recordist/producer, that sound is also exceptionally well captured. Take standout track "Fall To Pieces" (video below) with the layered vocals of Amai Kuda serving as a ghostly intro to Maaskant's own weightless voice. The vocals are tethered to the song only by the upright bass - it's the only thing that has a solidity to its sound. The attention to detail Maaskant clearly put into the recording pays dividends in rewarding the attention of listeners, both on this song and throughout Believe It Or Not, This Is The Place.

Check out Matthew's website and Bandcamp page, where you can purchase the CD or download the mp3s.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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