Shadows fall over light, spiderwebs criss-cross the eaves, and susurating ghostbreezes waft through empty houses in Matteah Baim's music. Her voice is easy and relaxed, but it incants charming distractions, quaint drolleries, discomforting phantoms, and subtle just-beginning madnesses not yet alarming but disquieting. Laughing Boy is a collection of antiques and curios leavened with ashes and strawberries.
There's little of the urgent in Baim's work, save for the injection of primal guitars here and there, and that's half the charm. Slowly the listener becomes enmired in her deceptive witchworks until it's too late. Light symphonic reassurances only hasten the process, decadence everywhere before the signs are even noticed. The vocals dip and swoop, as in Wildness, but it's not so much a melodic device as quiet tribal rite, wicker men peeking from around corners.
The drear and oxidizing effect of Laughing Boy has the strangest kindredness with Nico's music. None of the odd dead star's dolorously ennervating graveyard humours can be found but Baim leads us to the cemetery nonetheless. With Nico, one must sleep in the crypt; in Baim's work, celebrants cavort with wraiths and presences, genuflecting before decorous odes to fickle fate and lethean chills.
This is progressive music in unorthodox fashion, lit by ancient arias echoing against atonalities and dissonances. Don't think for a moment that the cozy essence of everything is a truism; it serves to lull and narcotize before administering the injection that sends the spirit into a purgatorial netherworld whose resemblances to the everyday are its most potent poison…which you'll drink and delight in.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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