MATT STOCK: Hunters & Revolutions (2021)
“Gradually Matt Stock draws us into his dark and intense EM canvas in breathtaking ambiences, rhythms and orchestrations”
1 Leaving Andromeda 6:32
2 Eclipse of Mind 7:51
3 Wild Hunters 10:53
4 256 Revolutions 13:07
5 Steel Cast Procedure 22:00
(Carlos Peron Remix 2021)
6 The lost Ivory Tower 7:06
(DDL 67:30) (V.F.)
Hmmm… This is a difficult album to assess. Not because it's not good! Oh no, it's even very good. This is the style! Sailing between big orchestral music, sometimes leaning towards gothic rock, and an ambient industrial style, with rhythmic attacks of the England School, HUNTERS & REVOLUTIONS is nevertheless an album coming from a simple coincidence. A friendship invitation on Facebook initiated by Matt Stock to artist Carlos Perón, founder of the band Yello and a big name in the ambient industrial genre, turned into a solid friendship. What's more, a track composed by Matt Stock in 2018, Steel Cast Procedure, was one of the tracks that the Swiss musician loved. It was the beginning of the HUNTERS & REVOLUTIONS adventure. Matt Stock, if the name rings a bell think of Ansgar Stock, composed the music for his first real album, produced and directed by Carlos Perón's Dark Daze Music Inc., between July 2018 and the end of 2020. The final mastering belongs to Perón who even allowed himself to introduce a remix of Steel Cast Procedure, one of the first tracks written by the man who taught music to the young Ansgar. The result is certainly very surprising with an imposing universe of 67 minutes of an EM where even Odin, nor his hunters, have never set foot.
Leaving Andromeda sets off with sound effects of a waking spaceship. Symphonic layers cover this opening with a cinematographic vision some 30 seconds later. Percussive chords with bass resonances play cat and mouse with synth pads to finally escape and sculpt a minimal rhythmic structure. What follows becomes incredibly beautiful with synth tears which crash like drops of ink, immolating themselves in these felted shadows rescued by the synth. A synth which modulates these shadows in harmonious mini solos while the rhythm grows with a memory of Blade Runner's (End Titles) tied to its bass pulsations galloping under an avalanche of orchestrations with the impulses of a whirling waltz. Percussions come to support the zigzagging pattern of the sequencer which runs as if to escape the synth solos, whose high points pierce the decoration, in order to arrive at an atmospheric refueling point to set off again with more vigor. The catchy rhythm, the brief synth solos with their Vangelis tones and the orchestrations giving the chills are elements that make of Leaving Andromeda, and by extension HUNTERS & REVOLUTIONS, one of those essential moments in EM. Think of Andy Pickford in his highly commercial instinct and you have a fairly good idea of Leaving Andromeda's worth. Eclipse of Mind takes us to a darker and above all highly creative level. This title lays the rhythmic foundations of what will follow in this wonderful adventure of Matt Stock. We can hear the distant beats of a wooden metronome serving as background to a keyboard whose disturbing chords cast a sinister veil. Beats emerge. It looks like wooden clappers slamming sharply on a texture whose synth constantly modifies its atmospheric evolution. Its procession is activated with suffering chords which pass the torch to spectral tunes based on the arrival of percussive rustling. After listening a few times, we realize that this procession is neither more nor less than the step of a gigantic puppet articulated by this synth/sequencer fusion. More and more sinister, and dressed in these ambiences belonging to old Ian Boddy, if not Mark Shreeve, Eclipse of Mind reaches its climax to come out with a more horrifying vision. Barely out of its macabre darkness, the rhythm returns with more energy in a final which combines the strengths of a cruel industrial EM with very high-quality England School. It's John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock in music… Wild Hunters is hardly more reassuring. The winds whistle violently, awakening a synth wave, the cry of crows and percussions falling like a march towards the gallows. Wolves and poultry shouting, not for the same reasons, and we can't get more cinematic than that as an opening. But still… Percussive elements fall with a wooden marble effect at the same time as lugubrious chants get in. The synth blows these clan alliance airs while the tribal percussions espouse a war march. Wild Hunters ended up marrying this sketch of gothic heavy rock with synth pads of harmoniously poignant dimensions. The limping rhythm goes to an atmospheric bridge where Matt Stock recharges the energy of his music a little further than the 5 minutes before Wild Hunters restart some 2 minutes later in a splendid symphonic-gothic electronic rock. Here is a superb title with a splendid final, and in asking for more is asking too much!
256 Revolutions begins with the hesitant rhythm of the sequencer which is followed by keyboard chords with an organic voice tint in tone. The flow of the two is woven with a rhythmic progression feed by an impressive percussive flora. It's the story of a sequence which multiplies in other forms and in other tones with keyboard chords whose total sum stores its richness in a stationary form. The rhythm also runs aground on an atmospheric bridge to return to its minimalist form. With its 22 minutes one would be inclined to believe that Steel Cast Procedure is the pinnacle of HUNTERS & REVOLUTIONS. Yes, by its progression which feeds the obsession! Lying on a percussive structure built on the hypnotic effect of a metronome, the rhythmic heart is like the sucking of a suction cup which never stops beating. The flow barely increases as the tone changes to a soft wood sucking that never stops beating. This framework is ideal for admiring the atmospheric panoramas which are metamorphosed in this universe of metronomic knocks where the impression of any acceleration is still lying-in wait for our obsession. During this time, the metallic ambiences are transformed into audition for horror movie music and even science fiction, so thin is the line between these two worlds. Carlos Perón's demonic voice even makes us jump, so obsession is not just a mirage. And I advise you that there is a passage around the 17th minute which is quite difficult on the nerves! Black and Gothic industrial surroundings… to discover! After this intense ode to fear, The lost Ivory Tower becomes a kind of balm with a beautiful wave movement where arpeggios and sequences swing on a ticking that always stirs the obsessive side that lies dormant in us. The synth pads become harmonious pads that transform into a beautiful ambient melody where its bit of innocence is sucked in by the flames of hell.
Leaving Andromeda aside, there is nothing easy about this amazing Matt Stock album. HUNTERS & REVOLUTIONS is a fascinating, an excellent highly creative album where the strings of darkness seem to be of silk. Gradually the musician from Osnabrück draws us into his dark and intense EM canvas in breathtaking ambiences, rhythms and orchestrations. Simply jaw dropping!
Sylvain Lupari (April 4th, 2021) ****½*
Available at Dark Daze Music