Posted on: July 10, 2007 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Matteah Baim – Death of the Sun / 2007 Dicristina / 9 Tracks / / /

Matteah Baim is holding back tons during eir first track of “Death of the Sun”, “River”. The set of vocals that ey contributes finally takes a focal point at near the two minute mark. What seems to be the focal point before that is the constraints given the disc by the recording. What is present on all of the tracks of “Death of the Sun” is an ambient buzz that makes Baim’s tracks all sound as if they were coming off of an old record. It provides some extra context to Baim’s tracks, and works at times like another instrument. Track titles and runtimes are not essential to Baim, despite the fact that they are present on this album. For example, there are two distinct “tracks” in “River”.

The second movement finally gets rolling at the 4 minute mark, and provides a more tenuous composition than did the first part. This is largely done by including a second vocal layer. It is also given a deeper body with the inclusion of a bashing, clanging, and clashing set of percussion and piano, which struggle at times with the vocals for dominance. The opening track may only be five minutes long, but the sheer amount of different material here makes it feel as if Baim has taken individuals on a journey for considerably longer. “Dark Ship” builds upon the structure created by the second half of “River”, and vacillates back and forth between a loud and boisterous approach and a much more quiet, restrained style that plays on much earlier musical styles.

The stretched-out compositions that are common on “Death of the Sun” make the resulting runtime much longer than it actually is. The pensive arrangements on the sub-two minute title track make me think; Baim poses existential queries to anyone that may be listening in. By not having any real endpoint to the tracks on this disc, Baim challenges the dominant paradigm in music. Sure, there are linear tracks like “Michael Row”, but one still gets the sense that this music is really done for enjoyment rather than to push hundreds of thousands of copies. It is this challenge to this dominant paradigm that makes Baim’s album so difficult to truly get into, but the pay-off for understanding why Baim does that is great. Pick up the album from the local indie rock store and try to decipher the puzzle.

Top Track: Seven Stars

Rating: 6.0/10

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