Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Join Le Matos

There are few groups in the 80s inspired synth scene with as much excitement around them as Le Matos. For the last couple of years a new Le Matos single shared on soundcloud was a red-letter-day as their grasp of classically styled synth music with their modern nuances created and intoxicating combination. Fervent adoration followed each successive single release as their styles matured and formed and now with their first full length record we finally get to see the full Le Matos picture and also the chance to appreciate what these producers are capable of.

The sound of Le Matos is not what I'd describe as authentically written 80s synth, however it is most definitely a large aspect of the productions. It's hard to put my finger on but there is something very Chemical Brothers like in their craftsmanship. Along with influences from a plethora of electronic music eras and this gives the Le Matos experience a different energy that really combines many worlds into one new one.

The soundscape is very progressive with many nods to turn to late 90s techno sounds and more recent French house motifs but the recurrent 80s elements combine things into a spectacular new experience that is consistently of a very high quality.

Join Us is the name of the record and I wholeheartedly offer myself to the Le Matos movement.

As a full length experience this album works like a futuristic soundtrack that dabbles in many genres but always remains focussed. The opening chapters definitely lend themselves to the late 90s UK electronic sound with melodic layers of 80s synths to add a more emotional dimension. This is very prominent in tracks like 'Interceptor' which crosses decades of sounds with each step. As Le Matos are a genuine band there are obviously many minds and influences are work in their music and I believe this is what gives them such a multidimensional appeal.

The soundscapes are very diverse in their make ups and executions, experiences are rarely revisited and instead Le Matos choose to forge new paths, fuelled by the past but looking to the future. The modern house  soundscapes are windswept by swirling synths that provide a great deal of detail and give a delicate tonality to the often unsympathetic marching percussion. It's this percussion and the extra layers of drama conveyed through the crashing of cymbals and drums, evidenced wonderfully succinctly in 'Overdog', that annunciate Le Matos in a manner that is impossible to ignore.

Tracks in Join Us haven been arranged with touches of deft genius. The powerhouse smash '58 Minutes Pour Vivre', which I personally have played many, many times over the last year is now given it's place amongst the newer stories and it fits in with absolute perfection. In fact, this new album version of this track allows the narrative to achieve a far more expansive context with the compositions either side of it. This rings true throughout the album and familiar experiences are all of sudden brand new in their album form.

The Le Matos sound is often epic in nature, with rises and falls that speak volumes and intimate ideas the are singularly enrapturing but when placed into a longer experience take on a new dimension that means so much more. Some music lends itself more to singles and EPs, encapsulating ideas and keeping the focal point concentrated, this kind of experience in a long form can sometimes dilute that focus and invite unevenness to the soundscape. I now realise the Le Matos style was designed for this extended format as it feels like the album is one story of many chapters.

The instruments used keep the presentation so wondrously epigrammatic, imbibing pristine clarity to the ideas of each movement. One of the high spots is the collaborative piece with Electric Youth. 'Light Again' is hypnotising electronica that harkens to the dance floor and the highway with a haunting vocal accented by glowing details whose trails echo organically.

The album's darker pieces also excite with their powerful refrains and frenetic drum patterns. Even though tracks like 'The Stuff' and the totally rockin 'Sarah' are made of more shadowy parts there is always a lightness in the atmosphere that adds counterpoint and prevents chapters from falling entirely into a void.  The drama is always apparent when it needs to be but it never drowns out the hope of the yearning melodies.

By the albums end an air of contentment is palpable. The journey has been full of excitement and enlightenment, taking the lessons of the old and tempering it with the sounds of the new to make something spectacularly accessible but also vastly deep. Nothing on this record feels unexplored or unfinished, the completeness of Join Us is one of it's most wonderful features and even though it's not obviously advertised it does work as a concept album or soundtrack magnificently well.

Join Us is thus far one of the best crossover albums I'm yet to hear. I can hear, see and feel so many different ages of electronic music in it's parts yet the balance is always perfect with each composition taking it's ideal place and it's own cues from the present and the past. Much like the now classic Temporarity album from Michael Cassette this record feels timeless and an entity unto itself. I look forward to revisiting this album many, many times in the coming years and allowing Le Matos to take me into their wonderful world where time is irrelevant and music is eternal.

Girlfriend Records presents Le Matos's Join Us album on their Bandcamp page here. This record is definitely a Synthetix Reference Experience and I hope it's record that you add not only your library but also your life and that in years to come you come back to this album as something still as special and fresh as it is today.

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