Knife Liibrary: Drowners – album review
Knife Liibrary: Drowners (Self Released)
Originally this was going to run as a “New Artist Of The Day” piece, introducing you to the brilliant & versatile Matt Loveridge, aka one third of BEAK>. Then he sent me a copy of his imminent new release as Knife Liibrary & the focus of the piece changed to become more an album review.
When the news of BEAK>’s new album swept across t’internets a while back most of them announced it using the angle: “That Geoff Barrow eh? Now there’s a musician with a ridiculous number of fingers in a ridiculous number of pies.” Or words to that effect. And of course by most peoples standards it’s true, he has had an awfully productive this year, one that impressively has gone from one critically acclaimed release to another.
But of course Geoff Barrow’s only one third of BEAK> & the purpose of this blog is to turn the focus onto another member of the trio, one who has, believe it or not, an even more ridiculous amount of fingers in an even more ridiculous number of pies than Mr Barrow has, namely one Matt Loveridge, an artist whose year is also shaping up be incredibly creative & productive.
BEAK> is about as conservative as Matt’s music gets. He’s an experimenter & a fiddler, one whose restlessness expresses itself in the huge number of very different musical nom de plumes he works under. Apart from BEAK> you may also have come across Matt as any of these: Fairhorns, Gnar Hest, Klad Hest, Matt Williams, Knife Liibrary, Team Brick (now no more) & MXLX. But it doesn’t stop there as Matt’s also a member of the brilliant LA band Foot Village who have an album due for release some time soon. It’s going to be interesting to see how FV’s & Matt’s respective wacked out & warped genii are going to combine & to see what their union will produce.
Matt’s just finished an album as Knife Liibrary called Drowners (see video above) which is due for release on 23rd July. The album is a bit more stripped down, a bit more minimal than most of the music Matt’s made previously, it’s music to listen to sat cross leggedly on the floor rather music to dance your faces off too or to run to the hills to avoid if you’re easily unsettled. It’s very different to anything Matt’s done before. For instance you don’t get the well honed & talented mastery of squalling electronics, throat singing (honestly, he’s awfully good at this), accordion playing, excitingly brilliant violin work, or clarinet playing that you’ll find in some of Matt’s other work.
What you do get is a sombre, piano & chant based affair reminiscent in some ways to Sufi chanting (from Zanzibar perhaps) or certain Swans numbers, the ones that invoke in your head ideas of tortured religious scenarios. This is especially true of the track “Line Up At the Glyph”. It’s an album that rolls & shudders onwards with an oppresive intensity, as one extended piano based noisescape rolls into another, with doleful, doomladen chants overlaid onto the piano. It’s stirring stuff, almost tribal at times (if you can have a one man tribe). Given a chance this music can reach into your soul, hunt down the empty parts of it & make a home there.
But there’s another side to this album, a side where the dirging chants disappear & suddenly you become aware of some quite beautiful, skillfully played & perfectly judged piano interludes, although having said that even during these moments it’s like we’re being played with & that what we’re listening to is slighly skewed from how it should be. This music would make a perfect soundtrack to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979).
The album’s self released by Matt as a limited pressing of 200. I imagine it’ll be pretty popular so watch any of Matts social media ‘places’ below for the lowdown of when you can get a copy & also for details of the Fairhorns release later in the year on Invada.