Title / Release Page: Longues Plages #1
Artist: Matthew Tyas
Release Date: 2014 July 16
Genre: Pop / Electronic
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Self Release / BandCamp
So, I’ve somehow fallen behind a bit with Matthew Tyas’s work. He has another release that came out this month which I haven’t acquired yet. This will soon be rectified, however, as his impressions on Longues Plages is a work that makes me want to have more of his releases in my collection.
Impressions On Longues Plages
The first thing that strikes me about this work is that it is deceptively long. It’s only four tracks, but when added up it is nearly 68 minutes. And the shortest of those four tracks is nearly 14.5 minutes long. Talk about bucking trends! This isn’t an ambient release with long, immersing abstract works, and it isn’t some prog rock epic Yes style release. It really is electronic pop music, that maybe borders on jazz fusion just a bit.
But I like artists that tend to buck the trends. The artists that feel a compulsion to find their own paths in the creativity. And that is what I really like about Matthew’s work on this release. He isn’t playing by anyone else’s rules. He’s playing by his own rules. And yet, in the process, he is producing music that is instantly accessible to a very wide audience.
The compositions on this release have a simple, central theme: Long Beach (aka Longues Plages). Each of the tracks has something that evokes beach imagery in your mind. Take, for example, the track ‘hossegor’ with it’s ’60s Beach Boys / Jan & Dean style guitar and organ riffs. You can;t miss the reference, and at the same time you almost involuntarily start bopping along with the piece.
‘le penon’ is probably the most jazzy piece on this release, with its Eberhard Weber inspired bass sound, and it’s west coast jazz feel. It’s an intersection of ECM records, electronica and west coast beaches. By the time you get to the dizzying electronic frenzy at the end of this tracks it feels as if you might be have a touch of dehydration from laying out all day in the sun.
The only thing I found a bit on the cloying side was the use of field recordings at the beginning and end of each track. While it’s often useful to use such devices to set the mood or frame a piece, when the body of a work is based on a single concept it typically isn’t necessary to repeat it over and over. However, in the case of this release it’s done very tastefully and doesn’t distract from the music itself. Given that each of these are long tracks it wasn’t the worst thing that could have been done. (Running the beach field recordings all the way through the tracks would have been horrendous…and I think some artists might be tempted to do such a thing.)
So, I really like and enjoy this release. It’s a light listen, not too demanding overall, and quite accessible for a very large audience. I can only fault the use of field recordings – but even then it’s not something that should keep anyone from listening to this release. Some might balk at the length of the tracks thinking that they might be demanding listens. However, given the structure of these works, they are more like sonic wallpaper: something nice to have on in the background while working on something else
Overall, I think this might become a staple in my collection for when I am working on other projects. I’ve just managed to write this review fairly quickly while listening to the release, Which shows me that I can listen to this and keep my focus on my work. Better yet, it has provided me with a rhythm for my work — and sometimes that is one of the things that I need the most from a piece of music.