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MATTHEW E. WHITE

Matthew E. White

K Bay

    The LP was produced by White and recorded between his beloved Kensington Avenue home studio (and album namesake) K Bay, Richmond’s Montrose Recording and his own local institution, Spacebomb Studio. K Bay finds the singer/songwriter, bandleader, and musical polymath expanding every facet of his creative process and harnessing the full power of his community, culminating in the best record of his career.

    "For me, one of the most exciting production techniques from this record was this idea where I’d record the song twice,” explains White of K Bay and “Genuine Hesitation.” “First, in a more traditional, band-in-the-room, work out the parts and sounds, nail it, kind of way. Secondly, I would distill the concept of the song one way or another into an instrumental composition. I had a much larger band (based off of Miles Davis’s On The Corner bands) play this kind of new-music/improvisational piece at the same tempo as I had recorded the first, more ‘normal’ take. The goal was to be able to cut across between the two pieces, and/or layer them and have them fit together in wild ways. To a large degree it worked, which was pretty exciting for me. The intro to ‘Genuine Hesitation’ is an excerpt from the much longer improvisation based instrumental."

    K Bay, White’s first solo album in six years, is the astounding record he has forever aspired to make. A bold reclamation of independence and identity, K Bay establishes White as one of his era’s most imaginative artists. These 11 pieces are retro-futurist magic tricks that feel instantly classic and contemporary, the product of a musical mind that has internalized the lessons of his idols and used them to build a brilliant world of his own.

    After his solo introduction Big Inner became a surprise hit and his 2015 debut for Domino, Fresh Blood, ascended him to late night TV performances and further critical acclaim, career demands nearly overwhelmed White. His record label/studio Spacebomb, for instance, ballooned into a bevy of obligations and expectations. White followed Fresh Blood with 2017’s Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, a set of duets with Flo Morrissey, and continued to produce records for the likes of Natalie Prass, Bedouine, and more—doubtless privileges that sometimes crowded out his ability to work on his own music. So he began building K Bay, a home studio where he could sequester himself with his thoughts. Newly married and starting to talk about children as he inched toward 40, White funneled a lifetime of experiences, enthusiasms, and obsessions into these new songs.

    More than love, romance, or self-reliance, this is the animating ideal of K Bay—that we can forever strive for something better, no matter how flawed or blessed we have already been. A decade ago, Matthew E. White made a classic beauty no one expected; on K Bay, he has made a masterpiece by harnessing what he’s learned from that community and life itself in entirely unexpected, electrifying, and reaffirming ways


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: K Bay is by far White's most texturally interesting and conceptually exciting outing yet, and sees White heading more towards the sort of neon-lit futuristic synthpop that his technically minded production sensibilities are perfect for. It's swimming in groove and constantly confounding expectation while remaining resolutely melodic and typically inventive.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Genuine Hesitation
    2. Electric
    3. Nested
    4. Take Your Time (And Find That Orange To Squeeze)
    5. Let’s Ball
    6. Fell Like An Ax
    7. Only In America / When The Curtains Of The Night Are Peeled Back - Feat. Joseph “JoJo” Clarke
    8. Never Had It Better
    9. Judy
    10. Shine A Light For Me
    11. Hedged In Darkness

    Matthew E. White & Lonnie Holley

    Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection

      Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection is a timely callout to the power of collaboration, of kindred spirits connecting in crowded rooms. More important, though, is this collision of two profoundly Southern artists, meeting to shed expectations of generation and genre, scene and situation and exchange truth, wisdom, and energy. The real world is more complicated than a pretty digital picture, bowdlerized of blemishes. As Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection reminds us, it can be more revelatory and transformative, too.

      These racks are balls of energized contemplation, Holley crooning grievances and observations above surrealist grooves so irrepressible and heavy that the words strike with the force of gospel. Holley strolls into “I Cried Space Dust” as if he’s wandered into the On the Corner sessions and offered unsolicited insights on true transcendence. “I’m Not Tripping” is an anthem of self-worth and self-enjoyment for a society mired in self-doubt, the words breaking like light beams through clouds of atomized drums and synths. And Holley begins the title track as a character mindlessly staring into a cell phone, captivated by his own image like Narcissus at water’s edge. Holley ponders the egotism of projection over dizzying keyboards and guitars so jagged they conjure fractured glass. By song’s end, he’s mocking this infrastructure of pandering for likes, jeering us all above a savage bassline that dares you to differ.

      Holley and White may seem like unlikely collaborators, divided as they are by decades and disciplines. Holley, 70, first earned attention as a sculptor far removed from the fiefdom of fine art, using society’s detritus to create curious bricolages that ferried deep narratives of ancestral pride, enduring pain, and eternal hope. His music privately stowed on stacks of cassettes before he released his staggering 2012 debut, Just Before Music, at the age of 62 aired those ideas over extemporaneous pieces for prismatic keyboards. But on Big Inner and Fresh Blood, White, now 38, came into acclaim as one of his generation’s most meticulous songwriters and arrangers. Stretching his assuredly soulful voice like a smile across little symphonies of strings, horns, choirs, and percussive cavalcades, White commanded sounds where Holley seemed to glide inside them.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. This Here Jungle Of Moderness/Composition 14
      2. Broken Mirror (A Selfie Reflection) / Composition 9
      3. I Cried Space Dust / Composition 12
      4. I’m Not Tripping / Composition 8
      5. Get Up! Come Walk With Me / Composition 7

      Matthew E. White

      Fresh Blood

        Matthew E. White is a Richmond, Virginia-based singer, songwriter, bandleader and musical polymath.

        ‘Fresh Blood’ is the follow-up to the “magical” (Pitchfork) debut ‘Big Inner’ and is a bracing, beguiling record and a bold advance for White. It’s a record that feels like the brilliant bloom to ‘Big Inner’s striking bud.

        Produced by White and Spacebomb partner Trey Pollard and mixed by Pat Dillett (David Byrne, Nile Rodgers), ‘Fresh Blood’ marks the next chapter of White’s Richmond, VA-based Spacebomb - an analogue studio, record label and production house with in-house strings, horns and a choir at his behest.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Andy says: Even better than his first LP and that's really saying something!

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Take Care My Baby
        2. Rock & Roll Is Cold
        3. Fruit Trees
        4. Holy Moly
        5. Circle ‘Round The Sun
        6. Feeling Good Is Good
        7. Enough
        8. Tranquility
        9. Golden Robes
        10. Vision
        11. Love Is Deep

        Matthew E. White

        Big Inner: Outer Face Edition

        Specially expanded version of Matthew E. White’s celebrated debut album ‘Big Inner, featuring brand new 5 song mini album ‘Outer Face’.

        ‘Big Inner’, Matthew E. White’s first album, was universally lauded by critics. Compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse, Beta Band, Cat Power, Spiritualized, Lambchop and Randy Newman, it blends vintage soul-pop with blues, funk and gospel to create a soulful masterpiece soaked in a bygone age.

        The expanded 2CD ‘Outer Face Edition’ features ‘Outer Face’ as a bonus CD that sees Matthew experimenting with certain recording limitations, giving the record a different gravitational pull and furthering the record’s soulful minimalism. 

        Guided by restraint and indulgence, Matthew E White expanded the process that created ‘Big Inner’ and began to find its first descendant, ‘Outer Face’, that White describes as “a monument to love, to non-love, to the confusion of feelings, to the last half century of recorded music, to dub, to minimalism, to pure orchestration, to the human voice, to birds in the sky, to home.” It’s ‘Big Inner’ stripped down to the basics - percussion, bass, strings, choir - exploring tape manipulation, a bit of editing à la Teo Macero, and dub-inspired effects.

        TRACK LISTING

        Big Inner
        One Of These Days
        Big Love
        Will You Love Me
        Gone Away
        Steady Pace
        Hot Toddies
        Brazos

        Outer Face
        Eyes Like The Rest
        Signature Move
        Human Style
        In The Valley
        Hot Hot Hot

        Moving, redemptive and powerfully soulful, ‘Big Inner’ is a timeless record told in seven songs that mingle memory with the rawness of any given human moment.

        The references - from the lyrics that echo the common conditions of love, death, seeking, and finding, to open tributes to artists like Washington Phillips, Allen Toussaint, Jorge Ben, Jimmy Cliff, and Randy Newman - are their own scavenger hunt through music history and through Matthew E. White’s place in it.

        “Country-soul apostle Matthew E. White offers spiritual succour” - Q

        “Bottomless columns of ethereal soul… magical” - Pitchfork

        “Resplendently somnolent funk” - Rolling Stone

        “A dramatic pop-gospel record that hits extremes of the mood spectrum: very easygoing and very obsessive” - NY Times

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Andy says: There is nothing like this record around at the moment: ‘70s, Southern, blue-eyed soul; languid, mellow, groovy and heady. Matthew is a big, funky, bearded dude from Virginia, who has taken years to set up his Spacebomb label and gather cool kindred spirits, a house band of sorts, who add lush orchestration, parping horns, and loose, shuffling drums to these subtly uplifting tunes. His voice is a murmur, at times a whisper, but it fits perfectly with the vintage instruments and production; elegant, slowly unfurling songs, bubbling bass-lines, choirs and cosmic vibes. Think Spiritualized, Lambchop, or The Beta Band, then lose yourself in “Big Love”s heavy, pulsing swamp, whilst the words "I am a barracuda, I am a hurricane. Live free!" float up and you just know what he means. And that he means it! This guy is the real deal. Hearing is believing.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. One Of These Days
        2. Big Love
        3. Will You Love Me
        4. Gone Away
        5. Steady Pace
        6. Hot Toddies
        7. Brazos


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