Matt Hawkins recently released a double album entitled An Orange of Infinite Layers. The first disc is composed of experimental songs with vocals, guitars, effects and the second disc is composed of mostly lo-fi ambient pieces that I preferred over the first disc.. A lot of the songs on the first disc are hit-or-miss and would have been better having a professional engineer. While the mixing was lo-fi and often distorted there were some songs that were really well put together and others that just didn’t make much sense to me. For instance the guitar playing on “Child of TV” was excellent and the vocals worked well despite the digital clipping that was occurring. But other songs like “Woolen Reptiles” suffer because of the production. What’s surprising is that after the fist disc I wasn’t expecting to really embrace and enjoy the second disc as much as I did.
The songs are titled by where Hawkins was at the time such as “Marine Park Gardens 3am 2012.” The songs are ambient and to its benefit a lot of them sound different embracing different instruments as well as textures to convey the textures. For instance “Sunday Cartoons, 5am, 2001” revolves around a reverb drenched piano and a guitar while “Pagham Harbour, 9am, 2009” revolves around distant drones and tones. Overall, I would have liked to see this double album released separately. While his songs were good they need to be treated better as far as the recording, mixing and mastering is concerned. A step up in this would be a step in the right direction. His ambient material is solid but I would have liked to see him immerse himself a bit more in that direction to see what else could be improved.
Divide and Conquer is dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We review a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
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