Boomkat Product Review:
With The View from Nowhere, U.S. composer Matt Carlson commits a mind-bending solo LP study of vocals and modular synthesis for Bartolomé Sanson and Felicia Atkinson’s excellent Shelter Press imprint. Highly Recommended if you're into Rashad Becker, Holly Herndon or Hecker.
Experimenting in terrain somewhere between Robert Ashley’s famous vocal pieces and Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol.I, and taking cues from text-sound composers such as Charles Amirkhanian and Charles Dodge’s early voice-synthesis work, Carlson presents a highly intricate, cerebral opus that’s as compelling as it is impenetrable.
Working alone, rather than with clarinetist/saxophonist Jonathan Sielaff in the free improvising Golden Retriever duo, Carlson thoroughly pursues the freeform idiosyncrasies of synthetic abstraction and smashed syntax, using strategies of Conlon Nancarrow-esque overlapping metrics to avoid any sort of rhythmic taxonomy, whilst the vocals strafe glossolalic gibber and the kind of queered 4th world tones also explored by Jon Hassell, both gelled and serrated by bubbling, knotted and convulsive modular squirrels.
Through its oblique process, Carlson leaves a chaotically charged and ostensibly irrational, nonsensical, yet actually refined and clever work that defies easy comprehension or categorisation. But if we were to sum it up; imagine sitting at a cafe in a busy shopping centre, amidst a whorl of voices, whilst Hecker and Trevor Wishart busk in the background…