When Matt Karmil’s music comes on in a club, everything around you slows to a crawl, and you focus on that one tiny detail – a bouncing earring or a frozen smile, the lights flashing through the smoke as slow as a distant lighthouse – before it all comes zooming back and everything’s jumping at normal speed again. Karmil’s fourth album, "Will", is released on the Norwegian Smalltown Supersound label – the home of Lindstrøm among others. Even more than before Matt has managed to combine his love of the graceful forward motion of minimal techno beats with the deeply granular textures and meditative chambers of reverb and delay. Mastered by the careful hand of Rashad Becker at the legendary Dubplates & Mastering plant, this driverless vehicle takes bumps and curves with ease, but passes through enough scuzzy neighbourhoods to make the journey more memorable.
You can definitely hear the influence of Kompakt founder Wolfgang Voigt on Will – specifically the GAS project’s melding of billowy sound clouds and insistently pulsing 4/4 beats. Like the GAS albums, "Will" is presented as a continuous piece, even though it is a sequence of eight tracks. ‘It's mainly samples,’ Matt explains, ‘although usually heavily processed and decontextualised. I used a lot of my older samplers for this one - MPC 3000 and Akai S-612 basic edits and processing in ProTools.’
Before you get to the long ambient closing track, ‘Maffé’, "Will" contains its share of muted bangers like ‘Morals’ and ‘Can’t Find It (The House Sound)’. While these would vibrate well on the dancefloor, the experience for Matt is primarily a private domestic one. ‘I like to try to create a room to visit, and while it's nice to have details and look out the window occasionally, the fundamental is the room/environment itself – my personal enjoyment of music away from the club is often centred around long form and ambient works.’
With a studio established in Cologne, Matt made his LP debut with the well received (but hard to Google) ‘----‘, combining dusty samples and elegant tape hiss with scuba-diving grooves and minimalist vibes. In the same year he released the jubilant club anthem ‘So You Say’ on Tim Sweeney's Beats In Space label and remixed John Talabot and Axel Boman's (Talaboman) single ‘Sideral’.
Recent years have seen a raft of new releases from Matt, remixing X-Press 2 for Skint, the albums idle 033 and ++++, as well as 12”s for Yumé Records, Idle Hands, Endless Flight and Studio Barnhus, received with great reviews in publications from The Wire to Resident Advisor and beyond.
2016 also saw Matt much in demand for his skills in engineering, mixing and mastering, working extensively with Matias Aguayo for Crammed Discs, Kornel Kovacs for Studio Barnhus and Talaboman for R&S, among many others.
At the invitation of artist Christine Sun Kim, Matt composed a sub-20Hz piece for Bounce House at Sound Live Tokyo 2015, while his video collaboration with Boston’s MIT Media Lab, Time Moods, was premiered in late 2017.
Among all this activity Matt still finds time to make his signature tracks, sampling scraps of source sounds during his travels around Europe, then listening back with extreme care over long durations, documenting and trying to articulate the feelings provoked by them. Extended time is really the essence in this process: ‘I can easily listen to any of the ideas that made it to the record for five to six hours at a time,’ he says, ‘to really sink into the details of the textures and if there are any tones, or subtleties that I want to exaggerate or hide. I usually have a fairly disorderly looking working environment, wires and vinyls all over the place, then long walks while I listen to works in progress.’
By sheer force of Will, Matt Karmil’s music has entered sonic bullet time.