Austin-based musician Matt Kwid released Passive Listener in November of 2013. Kwid is the perfect musician – unexpected and obscure. He is self-described as “totally boring, middle-aged and pretty much a giant nerd.” This makes me completely adore Matt Kwid. His style is completely unique and focused, and unaffected by the rigmarole of today’s current music scene designed for the young and hip.
Kwid took his time on each song. He did it all himself over a matter of many months. He chipped away whenever he needed an escape from his daily grind. The time he put into Passive Listener shows through the pacing and the patience of the music itself. The album was then mastered at David Klug Studios using high-end analog equipment. Passive Listener sounds like a more laidback version of the Gorrilaz The Fall. It is the soundtrack to a silent film. It influences visual art. It is a time machine into the future and a capsule into the past.
“Waiting Room” was probably constructed in a waiting room; it has an even blend of blip and boops that make it excellent background music for a conversation about magazines. “Drift” is awesome. The break mid-song allows “Drift” to reinvent itself on the spot. The sticky synth noises remind me of something out of Daft Punk’s future. “Mekanism” has a little bit of a Texan thing going on. It has a beautiful cowboy texture to the sound, and could easily be the soundtrack for a space themed soft-core porno. “Mekanism” is slow and steady and wins the race. “Omission” is equal parts sexy and smooth. “Blaster Master” is faster paced and wraps up the space voyage that is Passive Listener.
I loved this album. It seemed like Kwid wasn’t going for anything in particular, but rather just producing a labor of love, like he was detaching a completed project that was already inside him, and making it accessible to the rest of us. His sound is native to Austin and clearly original. Matt Kwid is talented and patient with his work. The results are smoldering.
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