Project was released for digital download.
The Matt Blackfield Project is a rather eclectic blend of folk flavoring and evocative electronic techno. All of the tracks create lush soundscapes, and if I was more inclined as a visual artist, I might have been reaching for some paint and a canvas (and created very different pieces to suit each track's mood).
To wit: the collection opens with a watery, echoey rendition of "Fingal's Cave," which the liner notes tell us is an ancient Scottish march with some modern treatment. The addition of the enigmatic, echoey spoken-word passage from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland made my inner literature geek smile and adds another dimension to the piece.
The sixth track, "Short Road, Long Journey," opens with a keyboard loop before introducing more mechanical effects and bells that sound a bit like a rushing crowd. It then shifts to a lower variant of the melody and then weaves a bunch of layers together before it fades out and leaves the distinct impression that the listener has just glimpsed a scene that will continue even
after it becomes inaudible.
My favorite track, however, is "Dark Field," which frankly to me sounds like a group of pixies decided to crash into the titular field and hold a rave; it opens with cricket-like noises and night sounds, then adds some sparse but reverberating keyboard and then a thumping beat and some steadier, higher-toned drums.
Interestingly, it isn't until relatively late in The Matt Blackfield Project's eleven tracks that we hear a lot of the fiddle playing for which Brendan has up until now been known. Both "Soda Springs" and "Leaving Lake Morey" are square (or nearly so) tunes that feature the fiddle heavily and remind me a bit of Perpetual e-Motion's work. For "Leaving Lake Morey," Brendan notes in the liner notes that it was composed "for [his] departure from the fantastic community at the lakeside Hulbert Outdoor Center" and the sense of farewell and longing in this piece is rather clear. "Soda Springs," on the other hand,
features some hot fiddle action with some equally hot guitar sounds and framed very well by a backing drum loop.
While this is very much an electronic album, The Matt Blackfield Project still shows off Brendan's folkie roots (I was a bit surprised to figure out that about half the tunes are square, or exceedingly close to it) and provides for a foray into the full spectrum of the multidimensional, if somewhat disjointed, world this Project has created.
The Matt Blackfield Project is available for digital download at Brendan Carey Block's web site and is also streamable from his Facebook page and his Myspace.