Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Matthew Dear, Asa Breed

Matthew Dear is a dance-oriented electronica boffin who is gradually moving in the direction of songs as opposed to extended sound effects with a groove.  Many of the tracks on “Asa Breed” retain the dance asa breedrhythms he is best known for and pair them with vocals that often have a clear chorus-verse structure.  It’s a pleasing combination.  Dear’s vocals are usually heavily treated and although he tends to talk melodically rather than sing, the vocals give shape to what would otherwise be riff-based and relatively formless electronica.

While “Asa Breed” has more in the way of actual songs than much of the electronica produced by guys with lots of computer equipment this is still an album that is more about sound collages and rhythm than about songcraft.  Along with many other electronica producers Dear has yet to master, or even give serious consideration to harmony.  Many of the songs on “Asa Breed” remain in one key and when chord changes occur, they are usually rudimentary at best.  While Dear may be fairly weak on melody and harmony, he is strong on rhythm and meter.  He is also very good on rhythmic construction.  Much dance or rhythm-oriented electronica has a tendency to repeat a riff too many times before introducing variation.  Dear’s rhythmic explorations, much like those produced by a collection of live percussionists, rarely remains static for more than a couple of measures.  New sounds and rhymic variations are frequently introduced so that the tracks on “Asa Breed” retain interest over their length.

Although he is more an electronica boffin than a songwriter, Dear lands far enough into the no-man’s land between the two groups that he can serve as a good bridge for listeners who like song-oriented dance music and would like something of an introduction to electronica.


10/15/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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