Posts Tagged ‘Matt Elliott’

Ici d’ailleurs – 27th March 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Matt Elliott’s solo work released under his own name is a world apart from his output under the Third Eye Foundation moniker. However, as the press release reminds us, he’s ben flying solo for a while now: The Calm Before, released four years ago, was his seventh solo effort. Farewell To All We Know is not the storm his previous album, The Calm Before alluded to, but nor is it an entirely mellow affair either. There are currents that run deep and perturbed in Farewell To All We Know, an album that leaks a certain sense of despondency which is often hard to define. It’s all in the mood.

The title track, which arrives after a brief instrumental introductory piece, is representative of the album as a whole: sparse acoustic guitar is the primary accompaniment to Elliott’s Leonard Cohen-esque growling drone. He sings low and mumbles his lyrics, but there’s something appealing about this gruff unintelligibility. Oftentimes, the vocals are emitted in monosyllabic breaths, breaking the words down to simple sounds, at which point they become less about linguistic meaning than the conveyance of a feeling, a mood, an emotion.

Flamenco favours and understated piano colour the instrumental slant of the album, giving it an almost continental hue. The soft, vaguely romantic – but bleak – stylings of the compositions are charming, sedate but with an undertow from currents that run dark and deep.

‘Can’t Find Undo’ is dark, stark, and brings a rumbling ambience as a prelude to the almost nursery-rhyme sing-song melodies of ‘Aboulia’ and the scale-driven ‘Crisis Apparition’ is easy on the ear but still drags on the soul.

Farewell To All We Know is a lugubrious and at times slow to the point of dragging effort, but one feels that’s the intention: this is not a pop album. Or a rock album. Farewell To All We Know is bleak and harrowing, but also charming and enjoyable in a dark, dark, dark folksy way.

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Ici d’ailleurs… IDA102 4th March 2016

James Wells

Taking only half of a well-known phrase by way of a title, The Calm Before carries an implicit connotation of incompleteness, something unfinished, abridged. While there’s nothing remotely sketchy or half-formed about the six tracks on this album, their sparse, spare and elegant folk qualities do subscribe to a certain degree of minimalism.

As Third Eye Foundation, Elliott singlehandedly redefined the parameters of drum ‘n’ bass, while his solo work is broadly categorised as dark folk. The Calm Before isn’t really so dark, and doesn’t have the same sombrenesss of, say, Drinking Songs.

The simple acoustic instrumental piece, ‘A Beginning’, which appropriately introduces the album, has a lilting, lullaby quality, which drifts into the 14-minute title track. Elliott croons gently, quietly, calmly, the melody ascends and descends. Its simplicity is its strength, and the mood is at once uplifting and wistful.

‘I Only Wanted to Give You Everything’ finds Elliott in a darker place, a delicately picked guitar line reminiscent of early Leonard Cohen providing the backdrop to his Thom Yorke-like mumblings, before shuffling beats creep in and gradually swell while widescreen strings swoop in and build to a crescendo of abject rejection as he repeats ‘but you don’t love me…’ over and over.

There’s a downtempo Latin flavour to ‘Wings & Crown’, which demonstrates almost rockist tendencies, before the final track, ‘The Allegory of the Cave’ offers some light at the end of the tunnel as soft ambient notes drift over distant beats and piano and acoustic guitar skip lightly towards hope.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/153519419

Matt Elliott – The Calm Before (teaser) from Ici D’Ailleurs… on Vimeo.

Matt Elliott - Calm Before

http://www.thirdeyefoundation.com/