Matthew Shaw is a tranquil and always-dreaming composer of post-rock and instrumental music, interested in making sounds that match his album art in its ability to conjure up landscapes. He used to perform under the elusive alias of Tex La Homa, but 'Songs and Silences of the Night' is a new EP made under his own name. Here, he becomes more overtly drone, making music he considers to be about "the present tense"
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- Songs and the Silences of Night by Matthew Shaw
8/10 Mike Staff review, 21 August 2014
We have a very tasteful 7" EP of drone-folk business by Matthew Shaw here this week from the ever tasteful Sonic Oyster. 'Songs and the Silences of Night' is a nicely self-contained cycle of four songs, each representing a different season of the year.
Things start out pretty and hopeful with the sweetly romantic fingerpicking of 'Walking In Circles', which reminds me a little of some of David Thomas Broughton's less loopy, more songy material. A very pretty song indeed. Then things take a more mournful turn on 'Autumn Equinox', where the twinkly guitar is replaced by soft droning synths bleeping out melodies replied by measured, spiritualesque vocals. There's an arrhythmic droney weightlessness to it that's very pleasant.
'13th Moon' must be winter then? The fingerpicked guitar is back and he's doing double-tracked octave harmonies on the vocals where the lower ones are kind of cracked and quavery which is nice. Just a real pretty folky one, this. Finally we've got 'Vernal Equinox' which brings us back to the synth drone territory. This one's even dronier than the equinox on side A but with a kind of shimmering hopefulness to its wibbles and twinkles while Shaw whispers new age self-help poetry..."achieve every possibility, rest in simplicity, listen to the silence, listen to the silence". A really strong EP, long for a 7" and consistently pretty and interesting.
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