Howden, Matt – Intimate & obstinate

If you ask me: “which album has been in your cd-player most often this year (1999)?”, this neo-classical, first solo album from Matt Howden definitely has a good chance. I bought it after a brilliant Sol Invictus concert in London, where Matt Howden, who is a Sol bandmember (violinist), was one of the stars of the evening. Howden is an extremely productive person, apart from solowork and Sol Invictus contributions he works on various other projects. Matt Howden, who is an autodidact, also has his own recording studio and label Red Room, with this album “Intimate & Obstinate” as the first product.

Most special about this album is the mixture of electronic and classical elements, which create a beautiful tension. Howden recorded all the instruments himself and then used modern technology to create special effects. “Manipulating, reversing, repeating and developing the fragment often led to ideas and effects that I would not have reached writing conventionally”, as Howden writes in the liner notes. Many parts of the album are ambient-like and have soundtrack qualities. In some compositions the beautiful strings dominate and create a romantic atmosphere, in other parts the electronica come more to the surface. This mixture is always in balance and makes this a great, varied album. The final track “Germane” is a worthy, more than 10 minute long finale.

artist: Howden, Matt
label: Red Room