In 2007, Matteah Baim released her Death of the Sun solo CD (here), but it was plain she wasn't quite ready for prime time. Two years later, 2009's Laughing Boy (here) saw her more than prepared, issuing a chambery little stunner that captivated as it crept beneath skin and mind, chilling and exhilarating simultaneously. Falling Theater, her third solo, follows in that unnervingly beautiful tradition of 4AD fare, classicalist material with bewitching airs slowly enveloping the listener until land and time are lost, audients ghosting back to Elizabethan climes. The symphonics, provided by the New York Philharmonic, are somnolently gorgeous, adagistic, a drug Oscar Wilde and Poe would happily ingest, trailing off to Lethe and regions supernal.
In fact, I quite suspect Falling Theater would be the music most cherished in Gargantua's Theleme, the regnant poignant evocation of a post-Swiftian hedonism: unhurried, elegant, a sigil of choosing what dwellers in a utopia will or will not invoke, as Rabelais might put it, 'as they were disposed to'. Hell, I'd even place the CD with Palestrina and Allegri, the flip side of Miserere Mei Deus and such. It has that quality of sublimity, though more in line with Impressionism than any Benedictine or Gregorian wont.
The CD title is the key to its softly tumbling and subsiding nature. Baim was interested in pre-war theaters, luxurious and decadent, visio-terrariums of, as the perceptive promo sheet writer put it, "music that has been time treated; as if our ears could hear the slow transformations and layers of patinas in sounds from the past the same way our eyes see it on walls and facades". J.G. Ballard treated of this in the 60s, and its vivification is timely revenant as our now not-so-proud culture falls prey to banker monsters and conservative atavists. No part of Falling is overtly political, however, but the imprint is unmistakably there. In whatever way you choose to indulge, this is a beautiful symposium of compositions created to flow and insinuate, strong and artful proof of Matteah Baim's increasing prowess as a sound artist…and even as a visionary…at a plateau and ready to plunge ever deeper into the nobilities and follies of the human beast-angel.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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