Archives by month/year

Matti Bye – This Forgotten Land

Tona Serenad

Matti Bye - This Forgotten Land

Swedish composer Matti Bye has been producing music for twenty-five years now, much of which has been piano based. His early years spent improvising to moving pictures has brought an interesting aesthetic to his approaching his own music and this, his tenth LP, is a mysterious and ethereal listen. Tona Serenad have done a lovely job with the package in black and gold with a stiff cardboard cover.

For This Forgotten Land, Matti is joined by three friends, including one on musical saw and together they produce a sound that is part misty soundscape, part paean to places unknown. Matti takes care of piano duties along with organ, electronics and a delightful celesta, ringing away in the background.

The title of the album is very fitting as opener “Melt” drifts out of the speakers in a hesitant, melancholy manner; sparse single-note piano is joined by some unspecified drone which could be a violin. It is hard to say as, like the Erik Satie-like follow up “Absence”, the sound is slightly muffled, as if it were an old recording. You can imagine it playing in some abandoned space capsule as astronauts waltz slowly through the moondust while their ship fades to a speck in the distance and they start to realise that all the entertainment they have for an eternity is this ageless, drifting album.

The saw is well employed in “Of Dawn” alongside the piano and the sounds drift in fleetingly from another room. It is very simple and repetitive, but the interplay is affecting and some unspecified thing accompanies the two, flittering over the shoulder of the piano, like the patter of tiny wings. It is strange, the things that lurk in the corners of the songs, giving a sort of depth or an odd perspective, like seeing shadows in rooms that may or may not be something. They have a good feeling; but what are they?

Momentum does gather a little as the side proceeds and by the final track “Galloping Waves”, an other-worldly waltz-like confection, there is some energy raised. The saw and celeste add charm and there is a Angelo Badalamenti-like feel, just in the way that the track seems to yearn for something. It is quite moving and the piece seems to blossom with little flourishes as it proceeds. It is the most lively and colourful so far and becomes a Pram-like tour-de -force.

The silence returns on side two as “Loneliness of Earth” wavers in the aether, gossamer-like with its single piano notes just about lending weight. The realisation dawns that the space in between the notes is as welcome and satisfying as the notes themselves and the gentle sounds that sit in harmony above the piano are part of its appeal. The piano is at times like a ricochet and as the bass notes resonate and gradually fade away, it seems like breath on an Autumn morning, that spectral mist that precedes a long walk as the dogs sniff off in the distance.

Again, there is a touch more drama as the side progresses and after more Satie-like flourishes on “Cascading Sun” and the sad but hopeful saw and piano duet of “Forest In The Sea”, closer “Teo” knocks any complacency out of our consciousness. The flourishes contained within are almost too much after the spare nature of the preceding tracks and it is like a sugar rush for a finale.

This Forgotten Land is a dreamy yet thoughtful, and at times desolate album, but really has the most beautiful touches and the use of silence and gentle texture is very fine indeed. Here’s to the next step out there.

-Mr Olivetti-

> Print this page

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>