Artists on Artists
On 17, Jul 2015 | In Artists on Artists | By jane
In late 2014 I first became aware of Matt Witney’s solo project through the release of a track complete with hauntingly beautiful film clip—’Just Where’. I love this track. It features Mike Medleycott on piano and for me it’s definitely the stand out. As a whole, on my first listen I didn’t fall in love with every track, but by the second listen the EP left me with a deep longing for bushland, nostalgic Northern memories of sugarcane, humidity, fire. Matt is definitely a cat who is connected to the land and he’s spun an opulent sensory trip that keeps giving.
So I’m settled into watching the fireworks from my verandah when I’m embraced by a hypnotic rainbow paddle-pop girl and I’m slo-o-ow dancing with her. She’s feeding me tasty mushrooms and takes me to meet the Shaman aka Dried Spider. The Shaman is singing to me and it’s so beautiful I might cry. Judging by his voice he might be one of those lucky kids who lived with MJ for primary school but went to Alice Springs for high school? He’s cosmic but he ain’t your typical cosmic type—no tigers or jewellery or faux crystals. His style is freewheeling outback in the Jeep and driving it off cliffs but ho-o-old on, the Milky Way is now the gateway bridge and all your childhood memories and adult futures are fast approaching.
He introduces you to yourself in three hundred years time, hands you/yourself a steel string, and sings about Salty Love. Future you teaches yourself about making love, sex, and madness. Future you is using strange future-words you haven’t heard before like ‘Tuku’, but you’re pretty sure you get it. Wait, he’s talking about astronomy? Time to go—the Shaman is back with his mantric synthesiser and boom—you’re in the Fortitude Valley now and it’s 4.30am on a Saturday.
You’re sitting on the sidewalk near the train station when the doors of The Cabaret Club swing open. Out pours a sea of sexy slow-mo EDM, and on it sails an affable dream-pirate who pushes you up against a wall and tells you about some shit that went down on the Logan train line. This new friend seduces you, you fall in love, get married, the end. But wait, it isn’t the end. The night before the wedding you sleep over at your father-in-law Papa Lin’s pad. Old spirits live here, they make the moon purple and induce some stinking 90s summer nights in North Queensland dreams. You’ve become a Shaman yourself.
That’s pretty much it as an experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sonically it’s really well put together. The playing is definitely convincing but it doesn’t sound quite like a band, more like a group of musicians getting together. What really counts, however, is that the singing is really, really fucking good. It’s refreshing to hear honest, heartfelt songs sung beautifully and without lame embellishment. Lyrics full of sincerity, non-cringey Australian accent (wow, uncommon!), on point vocals that feel go-o-od. Would recommend!
Review written by Sam Pankhurst (Magic Person/The Australian Art Orchestra/The Trouble with Templeton) for Mojo Junction – ‘Artists on Artists’
Buy your copy of ‘Wounded City’ on Bandcamp
Listen to ‘Wounded City’ on Soundcloud