Matt Douglas
Affirmation (with Discomfort)



by robin EMERITUS
April 13th, 2018 | 5 replies

Release Date: 04/06/2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fanfare for the domestic.

Affirmation is fanfare for the domestic. A short and gorgeous record, Matt Douglas tells the story of a lover, contemplating marriage, cautious at the crossroads. Each track is named after a different imagined emotional state of the decision, as if getting hitched followed rules the way our grieving process does. In reality, Douglas’ music does not delineate the feelings: these songs argue, they get stressed, and sometimes a joy so pure and careless it’s frightening washes over them. These things arrive together; Affirmation is subtitled With Discomfort because discomfort is with it all the way.

Sounds corny, but that’s good: this is experimental music done kinda off the cuff, without a fuss, not needing much more than it has. A dude who plays woodwinds really well doing that to a decent storybook: it’s all Affirmation needs to be utterly brilliant. Douglas uses his odd textural template with some sorta equilibrium of intensity and nonchalance; he’s weird on the downlow, emotional in waves, his instrumentation a gorgeous cohabitation of high-octane romance and quiet nuance. It sounds invitingly lyrical, but free jazz is living here too; so is Steve Reich. The blocky harmonies, the staccato rhythms and the misery-puncturing key changes make for a record that’s constantly riding towards something, be it in cruise control or blind rage; the commitment does not so much come at the end as it does in a series of moments, like the word YES scrawled next to its friend NO in different boxes of a spreadsheet.

It’s so beautiful and by the way do you like The Mountain Goats, ‘cos this guy plays back-up for them. He made Goths the wonderful thing it was and while he wasn’t on Transcendental Youth, I can hear it living in this album: it's the same blue nighttime weather and deeper-than-devastated loneliness. Mostly though I just love the way his horns get tangled: they play their own melody, their own song, at the same time, not contradicting one another but simply living simultaneously, separate thoughts working themselves out in one headspace.

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user ratings (4)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 13th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

i cant write anymore but this slays

Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2018


Still my fave reviewer, this album sounds incredible will check asap

Digging: Cursive - Get Fixed

April 13th 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds like something that may tickle my pickle

April 14th 2018


Nice short review mate. Never heard about Matt Douglas so thank you.
This is sweet. Steve Reich soundscapes here and there but thats not a bad thing at all.
It's free, minimal and neoclassical at the same time.

April 14th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

Bookmarked, review channeled the corniness well

hell yes

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