ALBUM REVIEW: “Beams” by Matthew Dear

August 28. 2012 | By Wayne Jessup

Matthew Dear
Beams
[Ghostly International]

Matthew Dear emerges from the darkness of his last LP, Black City into the light with yet another twist in a career that has been anything but predictable. He brings his years of exploring the nooks and crannies of electronic dance music to focus on his new project, Beams.

As Black City was the night, Beams is the morning after, the reckoning with the wreckage. Any initial worries about a loss of intensity are immediately dispelled by the opening track, “Her Fantasy,” which suggests Bowie or Peter Murphy stewed over the Talking Heads rhythm section, circa Remain In Light.

Matthew Dear has moved beyond techno into his own singular experience. There’s a warmth in these tracks and a richness that’s a rare commodity among his dance music peers. Interestingly, it’s truly better the louder you listen to it, as higher volume gives breathing room to the details in the tracks. “Fighting Is Futile” finishes with an ethereal coda, then drops into the vintage Afro-Funk churn of the album’s standout track “Up And Out.”

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