Boomkat Product Review:
It seems hard to believe that it's been a full four years since Matthew Dear's debut album "Leave Luck To Heaven" first hit the shelves, and while "Asa Breed" is a long time coming as a follow-up, it's not as if he's pulled a Chinese Democracy on us, he has afterall been very active on the 12" front, especially under his Audion alias. Dear proves to be something of an expert at the long-form release though, with Asa Breed not just equalling the creative successes of LLTH but exceeding them at every turn. Perhaps the reason Dear is so able to find success with the album format is that he never restricts himself to the confines of straight-up techno, the presence of his charismatic vocal throughout the record means that the album is rooted in song structure. Recent single 'Deserter' really hammers that message home : it's an all-electronic affair, and Dear's production talents are as much in evidence here as they've ever been, it's just that there's a great big shoegazing chorus running through the thing. How ace is that? 'Neighbourhoods' will be more instantly familiar to long-term Dear fans, its loose and easy Detroit beats combined with those hallmark, quirky synth riffs demonstrate everything that made his debut album, and for that matter, the follow-up Backstroke EP so addictive. One of the boldest, strongest statements Dear makes is the brevity of some of the tracks, the majority of which hover around the three-minute mark, which again pays tribute to the producer's song-oriented sensibilities. It's rare for a seasoned microhouse producer to be so disciplined when it comes to durations, but in terms of sequencing an album, it's an extremely smart move. In the final phase of the record, Dear drops the beats for tracks like 'Give Me More' and album closer 'Vine To Vine', the latter of which taps into a thread of Johnny Cash-inspired Americana you could liken to Bill Callahan without making too much of a stretch. Ever the maverick, amongst tracks of that ilk Dear throws in the rather wonderful 'Good To Be Alive' as a final reminder of what he does best: laying down some seriously beautiful techno, all the while asserting his own distinctive character across the production. Very good indeed.