Sieben – Our Solitary Confinement

This is already the third album of Sieben, which has in the meantime become a complete solo project of the always productive Matt Howden. He is responsible for all the words and music, instruments and vocals and the production of course. Only for the artwork he needed some help, in the form of the wonderful melancholic photographs of Kristine Haffgaard. As can be read on the website of Haffgaard, “it began with a decomposing greenhouse. Matt Howden liked this photo and wrote a song called Broken Greenhouse.” Howden and Haffgaard have also joined their forces on tour, with Matt performing and Kristine exhibiting.

I did not know that it was possible, but “Our Solitary Confinement” sounds even more mature than Howden’s previous work. The music is also more elusive, harder to describe. Of course there is the recognizable string work, the hectic drums (sparsely used this time) and the full sound with many layers. I also find that Matt’s vocals have improved. The album has something nostalgic to it, something mysterious as well. This is enhanced when you look at the atmospheric photos in the booklet while listening. Perhaps a vinyl release would be nice, with large format pictures on the sleeve. Also interesting are the lyrics, which let us meet fictitious characters like Mark Harding and Peterson, which Matt ‘invented’ while looking at the photographs. There are three groups of three songs each, dealing with distinct pictures/themes. In between are two groups of two instrumentals. If you’ve counted well that makes thirteen tracks in total. This album is a nice multimedia experience!

artist: Sieben
label: Iceflower
details: 13 tracks