05 December 2006

1985 - emaline (2004, Masa)

This new ep of Matt Fuller offers also seven bonus tracks from a live set in Portland, OR, early 2005. These are poorly recorded and don’t bring nothing particular to the original versions, it just an interesting listen if you are a fan.

Much more seducing are the five new songs of the ep.

The title track, “Emaline”, is a cover of an apparently well-known alt-country songwriter coming from the same city of Bellingham, WA: Kasey Anderson. From a quick view at his myspace page it’s hard to find similarities between his average boring and conventional playing and the 1985 subtle expression. Fortunately, “Emaline” is a quite beautiful sentimental and melancholic song about a girl. When you listen to it everything seems to slow down, you want to close your eyes to let thoughts and images arise.

Once again on this new release an evolution is perceptible in terms of structures, refinement and subtlety, Matt Fuller uses more layers and instruments, without abuse, in order to build ambiances. The four next songs reveal an important change of style, if “Emaline” is played on an acoustic guitar like the earlier 1985 / A Sandcastle Still stuff, he then uses an electric one on the other songs.

All of them seem to be related to events around Bush’s re-election of Bush (November 04), and are a perfect illustration of the project behind the label MASA Records. Masa means indeed “Music As Social Awareness/Agitation Records” and all the money potentially made from the sale of releases is donated to various causes of social and political nature.

These songs are fed with a feeling of deception, and the electric sonorities give more restraint and climatic depth, we are far from the conventional folk songwriting side, you’ll need several listen before discovering the nuances. With each record, Matt seems develops new facets and up to now the developments are fascinating.


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