In June last year, Barn Owl player Matt Weston's "Not to Be Taken Away"
(7272music) was reviewed in
these very pages, where Robert
Oberlander wrote that "Weston's creations have an uncanny ability
for getting under one's skin and scraping at bone and sinew, making the
listener wince in pain". Not being overly famil' with Matt's work other
than a drum contribution to one track on Smog's "Red Apple
Falls" (!) and with that in mind, I was expecting an aural
bludgeoning. I gotta say "Seasick Blackout" may be some kind of
departure from his "schtick" since it don't come across that way at all;
its more an exquisitely-crafted work of multitracked digital
orchestration than an oppressive harsh noise scenario.
For the first minute or so of the first track, with the neatly
grammatically-woozy title "You're Not That's Right", you would be
forgiven for thinking you were listening to a couple of kids goofing
around improvising duos using sax mouthpiece and digitally-bastardised
electric cello. And a little internal shudder, and setting your
expectations accordingly. (If it's not a mouthpiece its a mic'd up
balloon I reckon, or else the most fucked trombone in the history of
ever). So when the dismantled-radiator piano-frame cymbal-stand
percussion kicks in after another minute or so and you realise with a
jolt it's not a couple of kids goofing, it's Lester Bowie and the Art
Institute of Chicago weirdly playing through some ancient effects rack,
and you relax a little; these dudes are pro, after all.
Now you find now yourself at 3:45 in and you're totally hooked but
feeling a little creepy because the sound is morphing weirdly like your
trip is shifting like rotating shards like helicopter blades; when a
penny whistle and micro-cassette dictaphone voice jam come crashing in
on the back straight just to piss off your mood you know you're in the
hands of some kind of a master manipulator. BLAM hard cut straight into
the next track #2 "I Just Saw Fog And Dust" (I did, too) and right up
front an orchestra warming-up cuts to a lo-res mp3-player recording of
some North Africa headfuck unit like the Master Musicians of Joujouka
(no dis' intended) comin' on like a paranoid psychotic episode of 1,000
mutant clarinettes looped in unison and again BLAM there are two bad men
fighting over that same busted-up trombone and the drummer is still
flailing away on the dismantled-radiator piano-frame cymbal-stand but
has added a couple of timpani to the setup. It's crushing. It's
actually upsetting. It's fantastically, imaginatively evocative of
something unpleasant and so I'm not displeased when it's 6min 50-odd
seconds worth of hassle tails out in a flurry, a tumbling of temple
A blast of lo-freq buzz announces the entrance of pt. 3, "This October,
All Octobers" which honest-to-god rings with the grandeur of a
granularised, reconstituted, 8-bit rendering of Mahler's Eighth
Symphony. The drums are being drummed like the drummer's got somewhere
to be, now, there's sinews of synth/electronic melodies looped over and
over and shards of detuned string sections which blow on and on and on
and on and on and on and start to resemble a train horn blowing at a
level-crossing. And suddenly ends in a cold, dead stop.
Arg, enough gushing impressionistic batshit, now. What you need to know
is that Matt Weston has pieced together this short suite of engaging
electroacoustics in such a way that it has been imbued with the unusual
ability to get the agitated listener feeling like a wretch, a fugitive;
rather than wince in pain at the immediacy of a prolonged blast of white
noise, "Seasick Blackout" has the uncanny subliminal effect of making
one feel like something brutal and horrible is going to occur shortly,
and its going to happen to -- oneself. Last night I fell asleep after
playing "Seasick Blackout" and slept badly, enduring a succession of bad
dreams about creeping, incremental, and ultimately utterly
comprehensive personal failure. This morning when I awoke I knew that
the secret my unconscious was trying to impart was that I needed to
remind my conscious self to look beneath the veneer of sentimentality
and nostalgia, remove the blinkers of aspiration to see the true nature
of the horrorshow of this fuckwitted civilisation and our miserable
existence. An existential, psychological cold-shower, if you will.
At just 17:10 min long "Seasick Blackout" is everything I ever wanted
from a seasick blackout; you couldn't and wouldn't ask for a more or
better queasy sonic pressgang escapade manoeuvres than Weston's
proffered within. 9/10 -- Stephen Clover(24 March, 2010)
10) Matt Weston — “Seasick Blackout” –
I haven’t been this excited about an EP since… well, I don’t know when.
I’ll grant you that I’m a bit manic, but my sustained interest usually
means I’m on track. “Seasick Blackout” has got me riveted, and I’ve
played it for anyone I can corner with a speaker and 20 minutes to
spare. If I beat you over the head with one release this year, it’s
this one– so go get it, and buy an extra for a friend.
You can, if your music, very many different ways on adventures.Matt Weston has decided to open a container pokkeherrie attract and again to go mess and rampant slide. And that rubs pinches and properly, may I say.But adventures do not always sweet juicy stories, and thus, you can sometimes end up in a rough storm.And the rough seas of
Weston is really exciting to listen, because in all the wrenching sound
carpets is still a lot of subtlety hidden in quiet shifting sounds,
rhythms and abrasive sound awkward combinations.No
background music this, because then you can ever really seasick, but if
you're willing to listen with open ears, the musical adventure of Matt
Weston definitely worth a listening.
As his new CD proves, american percussionist and composer Matt
Weston continues to built on his universe of music of gigantic
proportions by making little steps. Every now and then Weston
releases a CD-single through his label 7272Music. We have reported
earlier of his releases here as you might remember and because
of this it may satisfy to encounter him again in Vital Weekly.
And yes, there is good reason to it. Also "Seasick Blackout"
is another outspoken statement by Weston. With his newest CD-single
he presents his newest compositions that take about 5 up to 7
minutes. Three tracks only, "You're Not That's Right",
"I Just Saw Fog And Dust" and "This October, All
Octobers". Everything is composed, played, arranged, and
produced by Weston himself. Although these compositions underwent
considerable manipulations, at the same time the music has a strong
live feeling, which is part of the secret. The acoustics of his
drum and percussion sound very spatial. The noise and electronics
are of a raw quality. Experimentalists like Weston not always
have the talent to make music their music emotionally engaging
and moving. In the case of Weston it is. Another part of his secret.
Like in his earlier work Weston creates again big gestures and
orchestral maneuvers from unusual ingredients. For sure Weston
opens a new dimension to percussion-orientated music. (DM)
Matt Weston’sSeasick Blackout
is his fourth solo EP on his own 7272Music imprint, and I must admit I
have been enjoying Mr. Weston’s prolific output of plaintive yet
agitated sounds. Keeping each release paired down was probably a
decision to deliberately allow us to absorb his sensibility without
getting overwhelmed. You’re Not That Right, is the hardest to
get through, and you may literally begin to feel vertigo set in less
than halfway through. Only the clanking percussion loops provide
stability to what feels like a falling scaffold.
I just saw Fog and Dust outlines Weston’s
key sense of acoustic space and the room sounds live and breathing. A
cacophony of reed instrument resembling what could be mistaken for a
flock of migratory birds initiates Weston’s percussion technique of
making his drum kit sound like a demonised horn ensemble or an
Idiophone Hell choir. At least I am assuming he is scraping cymbals,
snares and god knows what. The only other musician I know that comes
close to this type of expressiveness is Hans Reichel. Reichel invented a thin wood electro-acoustic instrument called a Daxophone
that when bowed, fretted, or struck expressed a wide variety of vocal
like sounds. Unlike Reichel, Weston transforms his drum kit into
tortured Idiophones expressing angst and melancholy.
The third and last track, This October, All October,
begins with a sinister synth arpeggiation which follows a path of pure
evil. The drums build, a sonic chaos reaches maximum level then what
appears to be a train horn begins to blasts away at regular intervals.
Perhaps this is Matt Weston’s homage
to Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo's Intonarumori, only you are tied to
the tracks as a wailing locomotive rushes toward you.
"Seasick Blackout" is a mini (?) Maxi (?) - CD, 3 songs on it, 17 minutes long. Matt Weston is a percussionist, modernists. What instrument bore the sounds that are heard at the three noisy tracks, it is not specified. Perhaps an electronically distorted saxophone? Percussion is, though not played as the instruments are designed and constructed. The onomatopoeic sound universe is quite nice, somehow understandable and certainly entertaining, but in its highly unusual and probably only feed ultraschrägen sound language for avant-garde beyond melody. Music is it anyway, if it sounds. Sure. Live is what comes out of the speakers as involuntary, certainly witty as part of the performance of the musician and graphic so suddenly in the seclusion of the home sounds a little to awaken horror, simply because it is not clear how they are made, what they should talk (except inspire and) and what can be expected from a fully played CD. "I Just Saw Fog and Dust" takes free jazz in itself, the ostensible Minimalschleifen however, could pass as straight parody, for metal guitar riffs. Then the awful grinding and scratching noises coming from drums, perhaps perched basins, confident and clearly fall into the room and nothing and no one has fear. The invasion has something threatening, albeit not in a bad crowd. Anyone who has courage and is looking for new sounds on every conceivable way out, which here has any idea how music can sound if you want to start from scratch. After 2009. And everything. For music it is, although it sounds.
From Sea Of Tranquility. And yes, my record does demand a lot from the listener. It demands that the listener send me a box of Bugles.
American percussionist / composer Matt Weston
obviously doesn't subscribe to the theory that his music needs to
follow conventional forms. The music he records under his own name is
difficult to categorize, but after listening to his latest collection
of music, the three song EP Seasick Blackout, I think it would
be safe to say his compositions contain a hearty and complex
amalgamation of many different styles, that when blended together fall
firmly into the avant-garde genre.
Seasick Blackout is a wild sounding, seventeen minute orchestral
work composed and performed entirely by Weston himself. Don't expect
your standard drum work or any straight ahead percussive rhythms
because the music presented here is more akin to the type of metallic
hammering and clanging one would find in an old shipyard. Perhaps that
was Weston's intention when putting this together as these densely
layered songs feature large amounts of said metallic percussion,
combined with an equally as generous amount of textured and sometimes
abrasive sounding electronic treatments. Either way it's not an easy
I'll be honest and say that Seasick Blackout will
demand quite a bit from the listener, and depending on your point of
view these compositions will either be perceived as brilliant stabs at
music concrète or just seventeen minutes of cacophonous noise. I'm
pretty certain this disc is either going to be one of those 'you either
love it or hate it' kind of listening experiences for most people,
although there may be some listeners who like myself might find
themselves sitting on the middle of the fence after all is said and
done. I can certainly appreciate the overall avant-garde feel of Seasick Blackout and
what he's doing musically on this three song sonic collage, and yet at
the same time I wasn't entirely convinced that this is a disc that I'll
need to return to on a regular basis. I guess what I'm trying to say is
that Seasick Blackout is a bit of a head scratcher in the end.
Considering Weston is primarily a percussionist, it's kind of
interesting that this EP opens with muted, bleating sax lines on
"You're Not That's Right." Eventually spare, metallic percussion does
come in, but the sax remains the dominant element of the song, right up
until the percussion fades out. There's a similar strategy at work on
"I Just Saw Fog and Dust," where the saxophone is more focused on a
repeating pattern, sounding like a sped-up bird call; when the
percussion arrives, this time it's louder and more insistent, with a
sound that's far more busy and active, and this time more forward in
the mix (although it never completely drowns out the sax). The final
track, "This October, All Octobers," features a reverb-heavy sound in
which the booming drums are considerably more prominent than the
trilling, buzzing sax work. Weston's free approach to percussion makes
an interesting counterpoint to the highly controlled saxophone lines,
and his latest compositions are among his most intriguing.
I like my experimental art noise to be an experience – something that
happens to me, a statement I can bear witness to. Preferably, this
happens somewhere else besides my house. Seasick Blackout, a short EP of performance noise, fails to connect as an album.
I can appreciate challenges to my role as a listener, Matt’s as an
artist, and our turn from the traditions and contexts of listening to
recorded sound. But in this case, left to my own devices, I didn’t get
Seasick Blackout is an orchestral work entirely composed,
arranged, performed, and produced by Matt Weston. The sounds are
largely unpleasant, the theme is tortured, and the feel is a bit
horrific. The first track reveals sparse, wailing instruments. The
second comes like grating insanity, worse than birds chirping outside
your window when you’re sleeping late. The third and final track is a
scraping piss, an orchestra distant and a train approaching.
Pretty much no chance you’ll like this because most people who come here want something very different from Seasick Blackout.
[What can I say, other than that I don't make experimental art noise. I don't even know what that is, nor have I ever heard any. But "unpleasant," "tortured," and "horrific"? Who are you, my ex-wife? (rimshot)]
Experimental percussionist Matt Weston works on a small scale: Eps on his mcrilable 7272music. Seasick Blackout is the first of those Eps that actually strikes. In the course of three tracks, Weston unfolds treasures of noise ingenuity: rubbing, scratching, sliding. And it's not overdone, and it's enjoyable, and it has artistic flare. Bravo.
Experimental noise and compositions that is staggeringly different from
most anything this side of John Zorn that you can find. It’s weird and
different and sure and if you give it a chance (and you damn well
better), can help propel your musical tastes into a whole new surreal
chapter. Not for the feint of heart.
Just because it's not mean, that doesn't mean it's not true! Or, no, wait...if it's mean, then it's true, because it's not mean...hold on...if it's not true, then the meanness is...
Hey, how did Matt Weston get the sounds in my head on to that CD? Seasick...blackout -- been there, done
that, and now I know what it sounds like: scary, ubercontrolled in an
out-of-controlled way, dark and loud. A contemporary tone poem about
Man cowering and pissing himself in the face of an/our/the ever
increasing mechanized brutalization of society and the brutal
mechanization of culture--and mechanized brutality's reaction.
The experience of listening on the way to work (catering a wake) in a
snow storm, driving a traction-free Ford truck that not only wants to
bankrupt me but kill me too, Seasick Blackout was so totally
appropriate it was as if the CD wasn't even on. Once it was over, in
the silent din of my own thoughts amid winter driving conditions, I
realized that should I ever find myself high on LSD, Seasick Blackout will either be the last thing I'll listen to or the only thing I'll listen to. One of those kinds of records.