Venue : Ustream
Date : Saturday 15 May 2010
Date of writing this review : 15 May 2010
Matt Stevens has absolutely no idea I am doing this, writing this blog as he plays, and bear in mind this is him at home playing in his box room, playing through the pain of his bad back, and just something impromptu. Bear that in mind, and then wonder at just how brilliant it was ! It started at just after 10pm and continued until almost 10:50pm. I do not know if any of the tracks he played have titles, but I will describe what I enjoyed listening to – what you will read below are the notes I was typing as I was listening.
Matt strums through mixing some deeper notes in with the circling treble, gradually building it into something very melodic with edges to it which flow away and echo out, and then he develops that main theme while other parts still seep through behind it, easing it along, gradually taking it higher as it moves in waves, easing through some notes, working them, and it circles, drifting as he adds in a higher part and starts to explore that, strumming through with some rich sounds before rasing the tempo, rolling it along, chiming a part on top, then moving to add in a lower part before some stacatto strumming, and as he moves higher to develop another theme he has created a huge, expansive sound which rumbles on, before he eases right out of that and flows to an end.
He continues right on building up a rhythm before circling in a high part on top, carefully picking the notes, working them, just easing along, drifting over the throbbing rhythm. Peaceful, restrained, then gaining a harder edge, echoing through some rougher notes before circling over them, then circling again with a discordant feel, sharp, pointed, easing down, then bringing back that sharp sound, piercing, pushing it as waves flow under it, and then he develops the higher part, moving it on, expanding it, while keeping the overall sound constrained, then pushing it really high, right on an edge, pushing as far as it will go, definitely exploring the limits of one man and an acoustic guitar. Then he frees the sound and it begins to bounce along through the freedom, rolling as the theme develops before fading to a melodic finish.
He pauses for a few words with the audience, and says he will see how long he can keep going because of his back, saying he can usually last about 35 minutes.
He strums through hard and I seem to be picking up a lot of interference in the sound as he pushes on melodic, strumming through and working those notes, echoing them as he floats them out on top of the underlying melody. It is a busy sound bouncing along upbeat with lots of little flourishes, pushing on into a pause and then breaking out with a classical acoustic guitar feel, something latin in there as he circles fast with the treble notes. And it suddens halts into individual notes, slowly picked, and then kicks off again, with him playing over a circling loop, gently screeching a note higher. Then back to the loops circling in with each other, building a wonderful sound which he plays over before strumming through and easing into the mixed loops to fade to an end while he takes a drink.
He strums in deeper and then circles a higher part over the top, but it retains a downbeat feel despite some notes twinkling out and rumbles along with a hard edge to it, pushing into some discordant flourishes which he explores and develops before easing back. Then he cuts in again with that high, sharp discordant sound and pushes it on into a pauses, before moving into faster bursts, little flourishes with the final notes extended, producing a sharp melodic sound with sinister undertones. Then it all drops out as he pushes on with a deeper sound, circling around a deeper pulse, taking the sound higher in a considered way, picking his notes, walking them through, leaving them hanging and then fading out to close.
He begins with some Americana sounds (although I am thinking that was just a little warm up) and then circles a deeper part which loops and he gradually adds in a part on top of that, very melodic, drifting, rounded, easy, building it slowly, adding in some flourishes, then flowing it gently and moving it into a quieter, deeper part which grows and launches into a harder strumming part (which cannot be handled by Ustream and the sound distorts) and he adds in a treble flourish on top of that and circles it, developing the theme and moving it quickly, very much a Spanish feel to the sound as it bounces along upbeat, bending some notes through it, then easing down, bending a couple more notes before bouncing of again upbeat, rolling, pushing into ticking strumming, melodic, repeating, echoing to fade to an end.
There is a rocking reverberating rhythm track rolling under it all as he strums in high and works his way around the neck, moving up and down with a very flowing, melodic sound, moving very fast at times, another of those Spanish feels, working his way into treble flourishes and pushing them along, developing them, very light on top of the repeating rhythm, lots of textures within the track as it grows. And then he holds and repeats the circling treble part before easing down, losing the rhythm, rolling a few notes, then strumming through hard around the same theme and pushing it away with more pointed treble notes piercing through, repeating, echoing and then quickly fading out. He rolls into a faster part with that treble part now looping through, and it is another wonderfully huge sound he has created, driving along melodic and upbeat. And suddenly it is moving higher and higher, with a real piercing edge to it as he rolls through the circling sound. He stays high as he pushes it along and then moves deeper as it fades down and moves into a treble flourish to fade out before a quick, sharp strum to finish.
“162 viewers” he says in amazement, before thanking everyone for watching, apologising for not being around a lot because of his back, and promising to get back into action just as soon as possible. “164 viewers – no way !”
Yes way, Matt – and it deserves far more. You should look out for the next time he does one of these, and in the meantime get over to his site and grab yourself a copy of Echo, and order yourself a copy of Ghost.