Depending on whom you ask, Matthew Dear is a DJ, a dance-music producer, an experimental pop artist, a bandleader. He co-founded both Ghostly International and its dancefloor offshoot, Spectral Sound. He’s had remixes commissioned by The XX, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Spoon, Hot Chip, The Postal Service, and Chemical Brothers; he’s made mixes for the Fabric mix series and Get Physical’s Body Language. He maintains four aliases (Audion, False, Jabberjaw, and Matthew Dear), each with its own style and distinct visual identity. His highly anticipated third album, 2010’s Black City—the followup to 2007’s critically acclaimed—Asa Breed—is the culmination of years of hard work and experimentation, a darkly playful sound-world that envelops the listener like the arms of a malevolent lover. Black City was released on Ghostly International on August 17th, 2010.
“Best New Music” – Pitchfork
“…he’s delivered one of the more cohesive and thematically sound albums of the year so far.” – Prefix
“…Black City is his ominous best…” – Village Voice
“…his most fully realised and triumphantly elaborate album to date.” – The Wire
“5/5 stars…at his best on all fronts…Black City offers up the sounds of an artist in full control” – URB
“4 out of 5 stars.” – Uncut / Mojo / Q
Matthew Dear continues the Black City tour with a 4-piece ensemble worldwide.
MATTHEW DEAR TOUR DATES
10/27 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/28 New Orleans, LA @ Howlin’ Wolf
10/30 Dallas, TX @ Meltdown Festival
10/31 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
11/02 Phoenix, AZ @ Club Red
11/05 Los Angeles, CA @ Vanguard
11/06 San Francisco, CA @ Mighty
11/08 Portland, OR @ Holocene !
11/09 Seattle, WA @ Nectar
11/13 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
11/14 Madison, WI @ The Frequency
11/15 Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
11/23 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/03 Liverpool, UK @ O2 Academy 2
12/04 Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
12/05 Edinburgh. UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
12/06 Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
12/08 Brighton, UK @ Audio
12/09 London, UK @ XOYO
12//10 Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
12/11 Rennes, FR @ Transmusicales Festival
12/13 Brussels, BE @ Rotonde Botanique
12/14 Amsterdam, NL @ Trouw
# w/ Four Tet
! w/ Small Black
ABOUT ‘BLACK CITY’
Matthew Dear’s Black City can’t be found on any map. It’s a composite, an imaginary metropolis peopled by desperate cases, lovelorn souls, and amoral motives. Like most literary Gothams, Black City is a place to love and hate, as seedy as a nightclub’s back room and as seductive as the promise of power. Matthew Dear, the musician, may live in New York City, but the Matthew Dear of Black City inhabits a sound-world unlike any other: a monument to the shadowy side of urban life that bumps and creaks, shudders and wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Black City is Matthew Dear’s third album on Ghostly International, and it’s his darkest and most engrossing work to date.
From the first notes of album opener “Honey”, it’s clear that the love-obsessed Matthew Dear of 2007’s Asa Breed has given way to a more existentially paranoid entity, as creeping tempos dominate, cavernous atmospherics envelop the listener, and strange distortions crackle on the horizon. In Black City, nothing is at it seems: leadoff single “Little People (Black City)” is a nine-and-a-half minute disco odyssey, subverting its gleaming electronic lead with eerily giddy backing vocals and cryptic, ominous lyrics (“a frozen wasted heart / has died”, “love me like a clown”); “You Put a Smell on Me” is a sordid sex romp set to hysterically chattering percussion and a serrated synth line that will set your teeth on edge; “More Surgery” at first recalls the barely-there Krautrock of Harmonia in its burbling minimalism, until Dear’s chanted chorus of “Alter genetics / to make my body glow / I need more surgery / there’s so much more to know” sends the track hurtling into a dystopian future.
And yet, for all the foreboding moods on Black City, it’s the album’s sweeter moments that illustrate Matthew Dear’s growing maturity as a songwriter. “Slowdance” is a futuristic lullaby in which Dear articulates a lover’s helplessness (“I can’t be the one to tell you everything’s wrong”) over breathy, Arthur Russell-esque cello swishes; the album-closing “Gem” is an achingly simple, reverb-drenched piano ballad that ends with a long, slow fade. Even in Matthew Dear’s Black City, there is hope.