MATT KIVEL

Pedro Y El Lobo are proud to present that day, on the beach, the sixth album from Austin, Texas-based musician Matt Kivel. Available now on streaming platforms and cassette tape with a limited edition vinyl version coming later this year. It is Kivel’s most abstract and experimental work to date and also his most personal. He explains:

“These pieces reflect the feelings I had on specific days of my life, particularly between ages 10 and 17. As a child and teen, I suffered through many periods of intense depression. These ‘blank spots’ in my life (as I’ve always thought of them) have been very difficult for me to talk about with other people. Working with music only (and no lyrics) to communicate directly about these time periods has been a healing first step.”

Based on memories from 28 years of living in Los Angeles, that day, on the beach features 14 short ambient compositions that are atmospheric and spectral, subtly punctuated by rhythmic accents that sound like a friendly spirit knocking on the door. It’s a spare, hushed and peaceful collection that manages to be both beautiful and ruminative, effortlessly walking the tightrope between harmony and dissonance. The aural spaces on this record were created on an almost monastic synthesizer rig in a cramped New York apartment shortly after temporarily relocating there. It’s no wonder, then, that these compositions create air – you can hear a yearning for big, smoggy skies and cathedral freeway overpasses.

Instrumental pieces have always been an important part of Matt’s music, though he is probably best known for his crystalline falsetto and novelistic songs. Most of his LPs have several ambient or acoustic compositions carefully tucked in-between lyrically-driven tracks. Though some are less than a minute long, Matt has never thought of them as novelties or interludes – he’s always given them the same deep care and thought as his more traditional songwriting. That’s why this record – comprised entirely of instrumental brushstrokes – feels like such a natural and considered step in his discography.

that day, on the beach might not contain any lyrics, but there’s still a very specific poetry to it. From the nostalgic imagery in the title and song names, to the eerily synesthetic connection between the watercolour artwork and the misty swells of sound in the music. Each song feels like a haiku: short, simple and deeply evocative.

Matt’s previous release – last night in america – depicted beautiful scenes of everyday American life set before an ominous backdrop of TV news broadcasts, national tragedies, and collective anxiety. The question asked on that record was, “how can we live happily and serenely, while such horrific things seem to be happening everywhere, every day?” It feels strangely appropriate, then, for that day, on the beach to follow that album at a time of worldwide crisis –when we can no longer ignore our collective and individual suffering and are

forced to pause and sit with our thoughts, quietly. This is an album for this moment –a personal meditation as well as a peaceful sonic refuge that once again wonders, “how can we live serenely?”

As ambient music often does, this record gives the listener clarity. It doesn’t add clutter. Instead, these songs help clear mental space. Listening to the full 30 minutes can feel like an extended deep breath. Perhaps that’s exactly what the world needs at the moment.


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IMAGES: To download, click above. Credit to Becca Baughman.

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