Sparse, chilly electronica and guitar underpins this record from Mat Sweet aka Boduf Songs on The Flenser. Intimate, and definitely a headphones sort of album, it conjures up images of opium hazes and anxious, languorous evenings. Eleven tracks move into one another like a slow moving river, meeting everything from post-rock and death metal all with a sonorous yet sparse sound. CD and Vinyl.
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Mat Sweet’s music is so quiet, and insists on itself so little, that you barely notice it disappearing. That is by no means a slight: on his newest and most brilliant record -- which at once has shades of Perfume Genius, Dirty Beaches, the National and Julia Holter -- he follows up a six minute song with little more than the sound of a rainy downpour and a whispered drone. It’s the kind of thing only an artist this humble with melodies and ideas could do: after barely pronouncing his song, he retreats from it. ‘Stench of Exist’ is a record about insurmountable pain and personal suffering, but with its volume turned all the way down. Get on its level.
The most important work on ‘Stench of Exist’ is done to Sweet’s voice: it crackles in ballads, mutters in dramatic climaxes and loses all trace in certain choice moments. On the wonderfully titled “My Continuing Battle With Material Reality”, he recalls Unwound’s Justin Trosper singing through the murky depths of ‘Leaves Turn Inside You’ -- privy to boisterous, emotive material, he continues to hum on like no one gives a shit what he thinks. Sweet has a particular interest in stifling the sounds of real life under his songs: on the same song, he samples ambulance sirens and side-walk conversation but buries them deep under the trembling guitars and piano overtop.
The production of “Material Reality” is so startlingly well-balanced -- so as to articulate anxiety and urgency, but make them sound like a hushed-up secrets -- and indicates the record’s wonderful ability to use grand gestures in small shades. If you’re tired of indie rock that reaches and reaches, Sweet does the opposite: the strings on “Great Anthem of My Youth” don’t feel like they’re accompanying the song to help it ascend, but rather feel like they’re moving coincidentally to the song, descending as it develops. It’s the tension of ‘High Violet’ meeting the suspension of your favourite ambient record, and it sounds fantastic.
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- Stench of Exist by Boduf Songs
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