ALBUM REVIEW: Adam Matza “Refractions and Echoes”

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Adam Matza is a composer of experimental electronic music based in South Florida.

After working on projects with The Weeds and The coverBaboons, Matza has taken his solo-experimentalism to another level. This is done with a futuristic musical tool called… an iPad; or in this gentleman’s case, multiple iPads. By using sound altering and looping software he has been able to create some truly unique, avant-garde works. The music, if one can truly this type of composition “music,” is like the best video game and film soundtracks I’ve come across in my many years of geekery. I highly recommend this collection of tracks if you are the kind of person that enjoys wild, futuristic film scores.

If you have ever listened to ambient noise music, and found enjoyment there, this is certainly for you. I haven’t heard anything like this in many, many years. The last time is when I got tired of electronica and decided to go weirder. It is more like the soundtrack to someone else’s dreamscape. I get impressions of influence from movie soundtracks such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Shining. It’s cerebral, inventive and distinctive. But if I’m being totally honest, it brings up feelings of fear and discomfort as well. The extra unexpected emotions are likely what gives me the “film soundtrack” feel in regard to this collection.

The first track on this album is called, “Night Before, Day After.” It’s as if someone combined the soundtrack of Tron: Legacy and the ambient background sounds of Borderlands. It feels like I’ve become sucked into a video game. At any moment a snarky little robot is going to zip past me, shouting, “I’m leaking!” I wonder if this is kind of thing Daft Punk hears while they sleep.

Unsurprisingly, the second piece on this record, “Demanding Supply,” also gives me the feel of a game I’ve played. Chrono Trigger, anyone? The overall background to the track reminds me of the distant future in that game, and many of the noises are similar to ones that you hear in the sewers or while wandering the wastes in between spots on the map. And not for nothing, but the high pitched squeals and screams sound very much like Lavos and many of the dinosaur-type-creatures faced in the distant past. I freaking love it.

Spasms,” begins with a much more percussive feel. The drum loops come across like a futuristic helicopter flying overhead. As the song progresses it becomes even more intense. The music itself slows, but the sounds used are certainly more powerful and dramatic. “Sociopathic Serenade,” is an eighteen minute, forty-nine second noise tirade. I get a little Bladerunner and a little Book of Eli. The music from the latter gives that scaling, sprawling, open feeling of the wasteland left behind by nuclear war. It does this with a noise that I can describe only as an electronically altered upright bass, played slowly with a bow by just sliding it across the low notes with a bunch of distorted echoing sounds added in. I must admit that, at about 8:50 into the song, the dissonance became so great that I had to turn the volume down a few notches. The rest of the piece flows freely between that disharmony of sounds and the previously mentioned soundscape of a wasteland. After that last experience, “Cork” seems subdued by comparison. The image that comes to mind is robotic graveyard; the kind of place that you might find in a game like Borderlands.

Here’s a sample of Adam Matza performing at Churchill’s last month.

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Rob Zimmerman

Veteran. Futurist. Writer. Humorist. Since Chuck Livid and I both plan to rule the world, it seems only right that we start as allies on a small media blog. Until then, I hope to publish entertaining articles and reviews, spreading information and comedy through the interwebs. Have a nice day. Do not, under any circumstances, forget to tip the waiter. Ever.

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