‘Echo’, Matt Stevens, 2007.

The debut album from Matt Stevens, ‘Echo’, is not something to be missed. Promoted primarily through word of mouth, over the internet, and through what people are currently calling “Soc Med” (Social Media), Matt Stevens uses just his guitar and Live Looping to create multi-layered tracks for both album and performance. He has performed all over the UK, written music for films, produces a regular podcast, and performs universally (literally), by broadcasting live performances through Ustream.TV

‘Echo’ is steeped in Spanish influence, found running throughout the album, and is immediately palatable to the ear. The fact that only one instrument is used on the whole album to create so much sound is an achievement in itself, and the acoustic aspect of the music is used to its full advantage. No lyrics are used at any point in the album, and I find this can work both ways: one could say that the music does not require lyrics, and the sounds speak for itself, but then one could also say that you need lyrics to tell the story and give each piece a meaning. However, without words influencing what you first think of the music, the listener can make up their own meaning and have their own version of what the music means to them. I found to get a real in-depth experience with each track, multiple plays were required, but the music can do well to be listened to on its own, or as an accompaniment to other things, or maybe even to dance to if you’re feeling daring. In short, it’s a pretty versatile album. Matt Stevens works very cleverly with his sounds, and there are even some occasions, like on the first track ‘Burning Bandstands’ where you do think “… did those notes just clash?”, on ‘Airships’ there appear to be some sounds you have never even heard before. The whole album is beautifully played, but I feel would be at its optimum as an accompaniment to something – this is due to the nature of the acoustic, lyric-less music, but it should not detract from the skill involved in creating and playing the album.

This album is definitely a good start to what could be a long achievement of musical work, and I would be interested to see a live performance. I would indeed recommend a listen!

Playing : 9/10

Originality : 7/10

As a collective (album) : 7/10

Overall : 7.5/10

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One Response

  1. Thanks for posting this – much appreciated

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