Eric Matthews - Foundation Sounds (Empyrean, 2006)

Révélé par sa collaboration avec Richard Davies au sein du duo Cardinal - dont l'unique album culte est réédité tous les dix ans dans une nouvelle édition encore plus augmentée que la précédente - Eric Matthews n'aura jamais vraiment connu le succès en solo malgré ses deux premiers albums foudroyants pour Sub Pop. L'élégance suprême de son écriture classieuse aurait pourtant mérité une bien plus large audience! Hélas, je dois reconnaitre que la surdité chronique du public n'est pas la seule cause de son insuccès. Au fil du temps, il a perdu de sa flamboyance et sa musique a une fâcheuse tendance au sur-place. Ne boudons pas pour autant notre plaisir avec cet album de très haute tenue!

Eric Matthews
Foundation Sounds

CD Empyrean Records SKY015 (USA, 2006)

01. Our House
02. Sorry
03. Gold
04. When You Should Be There
05. Death of in Between
06. Survive
07. This Chance
08. Watch the Sky
09. Courage
10. All the Clowns
11. More Than I Can Give
12. All That Remains
13. Start of the Meltdown
14. Sounds of Flight
15. The Fly
16. And the World Will Go
17. Till This Story Ends

Note : In the liner notes to 2006's Foundation Sounds, Eric Matthews explains his career strategy as he had planned it prior to the release of his solo debut, 1995's It's Heavy in Here. Over the course of 40 albums, he would gradually strip all traditional pop instrumentation from his productions, proceeding from a full synthesis of pop and classical to an approach that was wholly classical. Like Sufjan Stevens' 50-states project, time was against him from the beginning, and although his second album followed less than two years later, it wasn't until 2005 that another release escaped -- and that a mini-LP. Like that release, Matthews' fourth LP refines his talents for production and songwriting, but it doesn't show him growing as a vocalist. The album is not only self-produced, but the work of a one-man band, with Matthews handling the traditional guitar-bass-drums setup plus piano, and occasionally, woodwinds and brass. (In the notes, he calls it "the purest Eric Matthews statement yet.") Very little has changed in his world -- his songs are beautifully crafted and subtly moving (the deeper chords usually proceeding at a stately pace), and Foundation Sounds is undeniably the work of an arranging and songwriting artisan.


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