Monday, June 18, 2012

Ekhein Summer 2012 Tape Batch Part 1 - Sean McCann and Matthew Sullivan / Matthewdavid | Label Feature

Matthew Sullivan has been releasing music under various pseudonyms for a number of years now. Originally releasing some harsh noise as Privy Seals while eventually mellowing out a bit and stripping back the aggression with Earn the moniker Sullivan has been using since 2008. He hasn't been silent with this project by any means and maintains an ever growing back catalogue which all seemingly led up to last year's A Following Shadow full length on the LA based Post Present Medium.

During all this time he has also been operating the label Ekhein, with a focus on releasing music  via cassette and CD-R and has quickly come to be home to a large swath of the contemporary music's post-noise composers. The label's current crop of releases continue on Sullivan and companies winning streak offering a diverse group of artists presenting a rather cohesive aesthetic aim. In this first look into the label's current offerings the subtle hues of grey really come alive.

The first album up is Sean McCann and Matthew Sullivan's Jackpot.  On this outing the duo have essentially left all notions of genre behind. I would almost dare to say ambient or possibly post-ambient, but that is just ridiculous. Jackpot consists as a "document of sketches and collages" according to the press release  making it almost a necessity to view it in light of the duo more official or completed works such as the recently released Vanity Fair full-length on McCann's Recital imprint. This new cassette was recorded around the same time as that album so it's hard to escape it's elder releases shadow.

Jackpot ventures down the same dusty path as it's fore bearer. A mixed bag collage that is full of subtlet hints of artistry and composition many people in the "underground" seem to be lacking. The album contains enough shifts of emotion and texture to negate tags like 'drone' as well. It seems like the closet possible cousin would be something akin to Smegma or quite possibly LAFMS.

Matthewdavid turns up two sides of long form compositions compromised of a thick fog-like atmosphere that's hard to navigate through. Some sort of constant motion is happening underneath, or on the other side, of all this tape hiss and hum but it's form is difficult to make out. A slow slurp in one headphone and some sort of cosmic tripped out synth in the clouded distance.

It's a fitting entry into the Ekhein catalogue and a little bit of a departure from Matthewdavid's more beat oriented work. There are still elements of a classic mixtape heard in the crevasses of Destin but they are too difficult to discern from the sonic grey matter taking over here. Something that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Ekhein's summer 2012 batch of tapes is available now via their website & select distributors. Stayed tuned for Part Two of this Ekhein label feature.

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