Smog. Dense smog. Sounds buried under the heaviness of smog in Los Angeles. This is the music of Matthewdavid, aka Matthew David McQueen. Outmind opens with a snippet of a LA weather announcement reporting smog. Matthewdavid then picks us up and takes us headfirst into the smog. Sounds merge with one another, music ebbs and flows. Outmind‘s smog isn’t of the harsh chemical variety, I’d guess that McQueen’s fog is more of the herbal variety, but smoggy is a pretty good adjective to describe the music buried on this record.
Matthewdavid is like a haunted analogue/digital converter. His music exists in a realm in-between, in the ether. In the smog. The sounds are familiar – lush synths, roughed up sweeps, analogue bleeps and crunches, but the treatment of the sounds are what sets this music truly apart. Hailing from Los Angeles, and the co-honcho of Leaving Records (itself an interesting aberration on the map of music history) Matthewdavid creates sounds that shift between ambience and rhythm, between structure and space. The tracks on Outmind blur into one another, leaving the listener uncertain whether one song has finished. He relieves us of our temporal space in the world.
As the tracks come and go, we are left wondering what all of this sonic mess means. The music on this release is beautiful, and at the same time terrifying. Coming off like some sort of mutant offspring of Sleeparchive and James Blake, McQueen’s pop music is so filled with decay and otherworldly residue that I fear that there is ectoplasm coming out of my speakers. “International”, which was previously released on an EP also on Brainfeeder, and “Like You Mean It” are perhaps the closest to proper pop songs you will find on this album. “International” contains all of the elements, beats, vocals, but is treated in such a way that basically defies its categorisation as such. “Like You Mean It” is like dubstep’s bizarre cousin who took too much acid while listening to Richard James. Hooking up with like-minded weirdos such as Flying Lotus, Matthewdavid treats us to a half hour of ambient psychedelia, undoubtably formed in and for the 21st century.
Less obtuse than his 2008 Disk Collection, (which was packaged in 5 1/4″ floppy discs!) Outmind tweaks and tugs the brain. Layers of fuzz make room for swirls of post-psychedelic giddiness. Fragments of vocals come and go, leaving you with the impression that the sounds are passing you by. It is almost as if the listener is a stationary object and the auditory world of Matthewdavid is in flux all around you. Running the risk of sounding way too hyperbolic, this LP is one of those rare treats of electronic psychedelic ambience that simply picks you up and takes you with it. Go with the flow.