Review: Matthew Revert – Letters to Friends of the Late Darcy O’Meara (Round Bale Recordings, Jul 9)

Every once in a while, even within the area of experimental music where styles and sounds are often quite singular, an album comes along that is so absolutely unique that I find it difficult to express my thoughts on it. Letters to Friends of the Late Darcy O’Meara exemplifies that more than any other album of which I can think. It’s without a doubt multi-disciplinary artist Matthew Revert’s most uncompromising and esoteric release, even compared to his already strange and innovative body of work, and it’s also his best. Working with a starkly limited palette of solely low fidelity tape recordings of his own voice and mouth sounds, Revert constructs uncomfortably intimate and charmingly bizarre pieces that completely capture your attention. Despite their sparse, humble origins, the eight tracks are satisfyingly diverse, ranging from the chaotic collage of “Dear Penny” to the unsettling minimal tape-noise soundscapes of the following “Dear Saint Marcus.” While it’s clearly a conceptual album, Revert offers very little explanation as to the meaning behind Letters to Friends…, and the cryptic “letters” themselves that are as much abstract sound poetry as they are intelligible speech don’t help much either. But there is something so profoundly but inexplicably emotional about this music, and you really just have to listen to understand that, because I sure as hell can’t tell you about it myself. “With love, Matthew Revert.”

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