October 4, 2012

Matthew Dear - "Do The Right Thing"

Texas-born, Detroit-raised electronic guru Matthew Dear has garnered widespread attention over the past few years thanks to his critically acclaimed breakout album Black City and a long line of stellar production work, including that minimalistic ear-candied remix of The XX cut "VCR" (the one with the colossally fat bass line). It now appears he's only getting better. Do you remember in Avatar when the whole jungle lights up into a million different larger-than-life colors? That's what happens when I put on Dear's fifth and newest album, Beams: the world becomes a little brighter, more vivid, and exceptionally more colorful. Dear, with his surreal soundscapes and mesmerizingly-layered vocals, sounds almost robotic at points: but it's not in a blank mechanical Romney way—this is Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey making a deeply introspective and soulful dance record.

While stuck indefinitely on a runway recently in my tiny cramped coach seat, I escaped and transported myself out of dodge by simply playing this record over and over again. One track in particular I kept looking forward to was "Do The Right Thing," where Dear sings: "My heart, it weighs / About a ton in snakes. / I feel hollow as a grave /  I have to dig everyday." The imagery is incredibly vivid and dark ("My flesh it burns / like a ton of flames / pouring down from the sun"), but the tone is one of an upbeat and comforting reassurance. Talking to Spin, Dear explained the meaning behind the track: "When I go into the studio to make music, I go into a headspace that can dive inward at times. This song is for the moments in life when nothing feels right, and regret surpasses optimism. In those moments, you simply have to trudge on, and do the right thing."

Buy Beams from Ghostly International.

Matthew Dear - "Do The Right Thing"

Matthew Dear

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