Review: Matthew Atkins – Porous Inner Montage (Minimal Resource Manipulation, Jun 25)

Matthew Atkins’ newest effort is much larger in scope and ambition than the last tape of his that I heard, The Subtle Silence. On Porous Inner Montage, he makes use of a wider palette of sounds, sculpting everything from electrical crackles and pops and electronic drones to recordings of shuffles and the creaking of wood into bewildering sonic constructions. The tracks’ developments are pleasingly unpredictable, and each is completely unique in the way it progresses and unfurls. Atkins avoids a restrictive linear format, instead allowing the elements to combine and harmonize in a way that feels uninhibited, even organic. But once again, his greatest strengths arise when he contrasts abstract, timbral elements with melodic ones; track 5, the first on side B, opens with Tilbury-esque, spacious piano plinks that slowly organize themselves over a bed of fascinating textures, and ends up being one of the tape’s strongest and most emotionally resonant moments. As a whole, Porous Inner Montage is a magnificent step forward for Atkins’ work. It feels cohesive and well-crafted but doesn’t play anything too safe. I’m excited to see him explore these more difficult, nonrepresentational compositions, and I also hope he retains those brief moments of conventionality that create such an amazing contrast.