Matthieu Beck / Here Alone / Growing Bin Records – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

A lovely low-key debut from French producer Matthieu Beck, coasting in on summery feels and laid-back instrumentation, with oodles of warmth and languor being the watchwords. Starting from a Rhodes and a drum machine, Beck fleshes things out with support from a starry cast – Metronomy’s former bassist, Gabriel Stebbing, and the one and only Laetitia Sadler, are amongst the hired hands – unhurriedly unfurling a collection of cuts that take their time to eventually get where they’re going. This is music for the heady days of summer, tracks to kick back to. It`s another great offering from Growing Bin.

California is a highlight: a first-hand account of the inequities of global capitalism set to a soothing groove – the ache of the testimony and the sweetness of the accompaniment making for a defiantly uncompromising whole. A velveteen glove covering an iron fist of resistance: the sorrow of the oppressed written in the stars. A superb tune.

Retour De Plage is lilting, shifting the sands of musical time as it sways back and forth between your speakers – jazzual harmonics sweetened and softened for afternoons spent puzzling over the mysteries of existence. French producers no doubt gravitate towards philosophy the way that a child gravitates towards an ice cream van – Beck’s inanimate doodlings come wrapped in hazy sheets of melody. This is confident, assured music-making.

Matthieu Beck Retour De Plage

All nine tracks are neatly carved, little chunks of creation, chiselled into neat coherence. Island is another peach: space and time bending into the beat, the mystical contortions of the drum and the bass smoothed out into a soundtrack for lost youth. Beck’s keen ear for cool chord progressions and sparse arrangements ensuring that this is an album with plenty of room for the listener to bed down into – repeated spins allow the tracks to blossom into something rather lovely, an elegiac rendering of love, life and laughter.

Growing Bin is a label that knows the good stuff when it comes across it. In a tsunami of musical endeavours it’s a reliable gate-keeper, an indication that herein lies quality and something worth investigating. Beck has laid down a very nice marker. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next.

Matthieu Beck Suede

Matthieu Beck`s Here Alone will be released on August 26th, care of Growing Bin Records.

You can hear some fine soulful musical selections from Cal Gibson, on the first Tuesday of every month, between 4 – 6PM UK time, on his Holy Rollers Radio Show, for Universal Rhythms. If you can’t catch it live, you`ll can find it archived here.

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