Rick Matle

Ears Wide Shut

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This album by guitarist Rick Matle compiles a series of recordings that were made over a number of years in his home studio which Matle characterizes as experimental. All the tunes were composed by Matle, either by himself or in collaboration with others. Even though there are time gaps between track recordings, each tune builds upon those that preceded it. The one constant is the presence of longtime performing companion, vocalist Sheila Landis, who contributes her unique vocal techniques, mostly wordless, on such cuts as "View" and "Spiral." On the latter, her voice is subsumed in the Matle highly charged guitar to the point that it sounds as if she is one of the blocks of chords that is coming from Matle's guitar or bass. She is present on the tracks not for her lyricizing, but for the instrumental qualities of her voice. The experimental nature comes with the sounds that Matle creates. Some of the latter pieces on the album might be further, deeper explorations of ideas and themes that were only sketchily addressed on earlier recorded tracks. "Spatter," with images of what one would expect from listening to creatures from outer space or short-wave radio frequencies, before moving into a Middle Eastern musical motif, seem to finds its fruition in "The Dark Backwards." It also results in images of short-wave radio frequencies and auto racing. The musical impressions reach a climax in a 13-minute-long "Ears Wide Shut," where the playing moves back and forth between frenzied and surreal with celestial in between. If music is imagery, Matle has hit the jackpot. This is serious, intense stuff, and unless one is deeply involved in creative improvised music, listeners will likely need several hearings to absorb it.

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