Barely six months after his last double album Embrace This Twilight, Matt Weston has just released another record of idiosyncratic compositions. Consisting of two side-long pieces, Weston balances two notable different approaches to composition, with the first side being the more spacious and sustained, and the other dense and sprawling in approach, linking disparate sounds in an incredible manner.
"You Have to Question the Validity of your Sneer," comprising the first side of the record, features Weston exercising restraint into what sounds he works with. In the simplest terms, what resembles a ghostly, inhuman howl opens the piece, with a heavily processed chime/bell/gong/something metallic punctuation throughout. Through the entirety of the piece there are groans and squeals making for an uncomfortable, unsettling lurch. As the piece progresses, he incorporates rumbling, what sounds like war trumpets, and evil screeching birds to the already sinister proceedings. The vibe is darker and more unsettling than a lot of his work, but it is still excellent.
On the other side "Half-Suburban Waltz" is more chaotic in construction but continues the already bleak vibe. Opening with skittering, clipping metallic clanging, Weston tosses in some crunchy, grinding bits to the bass heavy swells. As a whole it sounds as if these are mostly layers of percussion that he is working with but processed into something entirely different. Some passages almost sound like chugging guitar riffs. Coupled with the treated industrial banging, the result is like heavy metal deconstructed and rebuilt with an entirely different pallet of sounds. The overall mix is denser, and structures shift heavily on this side, but it ends on a gentle, if unsettling outro of what sounds like an emulation of creepy carnival music.
Compared to his other recent material, the overall feel of This is Broken is one that is more concise and succinct, which makes sense given it is only a single record, but by no means is it any less structured or nuanced. The dichotomy between the two sides is especially strong though, with the first side staying consistent with the sounds he works with, and the latter being collage-like at times. They are both unified by the overall bleak mood that, given the title of the record, is not at all surprising. It may be dreary, but the intensity is unquestionable, and that is what makes it such a captivating album.