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Matthew Dear – Black City review

Matthew Dear returns with his new album, Black City as an epic 10-track journey through varying sounds from more experimental electronica to more erratic trip-hoppy influences and almost 80s sounding moments. Playing with more digital sounds than expected, he seems to have taken one step closer to blur the lines into his aliases as Audion and Jabberjaw here, most notably on the title track where soaring synths and a catchy bassline are met with a housier beat.

Having grown up in Detroit, the Ghostly International/Spectral Sounds’ co-founder along with Samuel Valenti IV, has evidently been influenced by the heavier and darker techno sounds in the scene around him as heard in his other musical projects. However under his own name, he has always maintained a more acoustic and analogue sound with softer vocals and instrumental samples. In comparison to his first three albums Leave Luck to Heaven, Asa Breed and Backstroke, the highly anticipated fourth instalment shows his already highly reputable production skills have improved even more.

“Slowdance” off the new album stands out with synthy effects and a slower pace, whilst tracks like “Monkey” are strong and intense, littered with disturbing primate-focused lyrics. Ending on “Gem”, an anthemic piano piece with soft vocals, we’re left to mull over a genre-defying and generally slower paced full length.

Review: Flora Wong