Matthew Thomas


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With several techno releases as Aquila to date, Architecture marks a new musical form for artist Matthew Thomas as the first release under his own name. The new direction -- a style made of wire frames, outlines, and suggestions of form rather than concrete beats, melodies, and feelings. Appropriately named, Architecture is as much a study of materials as it is of musical structure. Architecture combines the accessible with the subtle and creates its own share of haunting and memorable moments without venturing too far into the light or the dark. Soft warmth combined with minimalist bleep and penetrating sine-wave bass, a delicate blend of atypical noise. Thomas' techniques vary throughout the release. The high point and opener, "Taema" suggests melodies composed of hand-chosen analog sounds, interrupted and prevented from their natural course by temporary silences that themselves form a percussive device. "Alignment" is a more typical arrangement of sounds, more warm tones playing against a varied texture of drums that seem to be chosen purely on the basis of the audible tension of the drum skin, an artificial study of physical sound. The study does not end there. "Glass" uses delicate arrangements of small sounds -- clicks, hums, and static pops that use the textures of each voice as much as the composition to drive the track forward. In each case, Thomas achieves a musical contradiction by laying sounds bare for clinical examination within arrangements that themselves are warm, textured, and versatile.

Architecture may not be the longest running release, but it achieves everything it promises in the opening with only its few long tracks. Thomas is consistent and musically succinct, making for a compelling study of quiet noise that is always engaging and marks a bright beginning for a new avant-garde project.

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