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Ah, John Matthias the physicist. I’m familiar with Matthias as he’s collaborated with some pretty high profile artists over the years (Radiohead, Coldcut etc) but I wasn’t aware of his prolific solo work, probably due to me not being much of a folksy type. ‘Geisterfahrer’ is Matthias’ third album of solo material and it’s a confident display of the composers varied talents. The majority of the album sounds live and recorded with the minimum of fuss. the vocals are recorded live alongside the instruments (piano, guitar and violin predominantly) and, as a result, the vibe is natural and lively. His minimalist approach to arranging leaves tons of space ideal for this approach. Musically it forges traditional folk with modern classical composition so the sound is generally sombre, tender and atmospheric in tone.
It’s a little morose for my tastes but the recording is beautiful and succeeds regardless due to the care and attention taken with the compositions. It will no doubt impress the Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Peter Broderick, Machinefabriek fraternity as well as being a tempting proposition for all those Nick Drake fans of the world. Check out ‘Pre-Loved/Vintage’ for a prime example of Matthias’ mastery and manipulation of pastoral folk.
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- Geisterfahrer by John Matthias
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