Matt Williamson

[Dead City Music sleeve]"Dead City Music" (EP, 2001)

LA Records

If it wasn't for the fact that a couple of the four tracks on this limited edition EP were so bloody good, the most remarkable thing about this release is that the entire release was recorded on Music 2000 - an early incarnation of the Playstation sample editor program. Shocking fact established, you should immediately put aside any derogatory thoughts that little nugget has probably seeded in your skeptical little mind. For Williamson's Dead City Music reminds us that the most important thing in any creative field is not the tools that one uses to achieve one's objectives but what you do with them and how you do it that matters.

I'll bet there hasn't been a more artistic and experimental release based around the popular 8-bit music sample editor. You can forget all thoughts of lame dance music, dreary house, teenage rap, or whatever else it is that most kids have used Music for before (and since). This is not only a remarkable technical achievement but a mightily impressive musical one too. That doesn't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this Kent based artist, responsible with Jon Black for establishing ambient outfit Wave. Aside from somehow managing to blend the influences of Secrets of the Beehive era David Sylvian with Kraftwerk's finest beats and sequencers (yeah, try and conjure that up inside your head), the songwriting is just as audacious as such a combination suggests. There's a sense of indie American film soundtracks and installation soundscapes in Dust Farm and Dead City Music. Whilst the simultaneously beautiful yet daftly joyful electro of Dead City Radio gives this a remarkable range in just four instrumental tracks. Brilliant stuff. 8/10

Rob Dyer (June, 2005)