Like 2021's Four Lies in the Eavesdrop Business, composer/multi-instrumentalist Matt Weston's latest work is a lengthy double record. However, this time he specifically utilizes the format to create four side-long and expansive pieces that constantly develop, bringing in a multitude of different sounds and elements. The result is a series of intense, dense compositions that can be hard to keep up with at first, but eventually reveal a deep sense of complexity in their structures.
"The Drunken Dance with the Telegrapher" is the first (and longest) of the four works. It clocks in at over 17 minutes and is always shifting and evolving through that entire duration. Opening with oddly processed, mangled sounds that resemble a pained monster, Weston adds sporadic, intense drumming and a creepy, droning ambience. He introduces high pitched noises and metallic pulses, the piece goes into shrill, harsh spaces at times, but the captivating bent tapes and layered tones keep it from being anything but an endurance test. Percussive thuds, drill-like electronic tones, and tumbling drums all appear at different times, making for a dizzying piece.
For "The Sky Over Petrograd," Weston leads off with a sustained, emergency alert-like tone that loses stability. He adds stuttering samples and pounding drums to bring even more dimension. It has the dense, heavy mood of the previous piece, but here there is a greater use of rhythms (conventional and otherwise) and more varied use of space and dynamics. Shifting from squeaky, waxy sounds into ritualistic rhythms, there is a strange sense of catchiness at times, but overall the composition is anything but conventional.
"Halfway to Smearing," the shortest piece at 10 and a half minutes, also makes for the rawest one in the set. From a low rumble into clipped spoken words, Weston piles on clattering passages, weird electronics, and a seemingly chaotic structure that floats into squelching walls of sound. Closing work "Every Day You Will See the Dust" features Weston steering back into less oppressive spaces, with thumping drums, squeaking electronics, and a constant metallic shimmer. It is anything but calm: static, creaking noises, and a machinery like hum all eventually lead to a weird pseudo-melody and structured, rhythmic drumming that flows into a buzzy, abrupt conclusion.
I may have insinuated Embrace This Twilight being chaotic a few times throughout this review, and while it may at times sound that way, Weston clearly is working with intention. The vastly different sounds are not just randomly piled atop one another but are deliberately and meticulously constructed. The constantly shifting dynamics and wide array of instrumentation is dizzying at first, but closer listening reveals nuance and order. This is a clear testament to Weston's compositional skills, that even bringing together all of these disparate sounds and rapidly changing structures, everything still makes sense, even if that is not immediately apparent.