Matta: Prototype
Ad Noiseam

Prototype gathers the tracks British duo Andy and James Matta recently issued under the Matta name on two vinyl twelves for Ad Noiseam, a remix for Hecq (Ben Lukas Boysen), two tunes from their first digital release, and a new, previously unreleased track into a solid, fifty-three-minute package. The boys' dubstep tracks are models of concision, as they make their case with conviction in five minutes on average and then politely step aside. In its brief tenure, Matta has tackled remixes for Skism, Noisia, Black Lung, and Bong-Ra, in addition to the one for Hecq included here.

There's no shortage of hard-hitters on offer: album opener “Mass” rolls out a ten-ton wobble and generally tripped-out attack, though not at the expense of a fundamental musicality that's helped along by the delicate lilt of a female singer's gothic versifying. The intensity level goes up even more for “Chaos Reigns,” which sputters and pounds relentlessly, integrating into its low-end disorientation a distorted drawl of the track title and a near-subliminal theme that's equally exotic and stately. Hecq's “Sura” unfurls with a fury characteristic of the genre, though the track has a near-symphonic dimension that doesn't get lost in the process. A relentless, brain-addling banger, “Release The Freq” could function perfectly well as the group's manifesto if they desired it do so. The cut's viral bass throb and gritty wobble is born for the club and surely engineered to generate frenzy whenever and wherever it drops. In collaboration with The Abyss, Matta drapes a film voice sample across the glitch-sprinkled terrain of “Solar Driftwood,” which hammers and writhes as insistently as any of the other tracks in the collection.

“Suicide Stutter” finds the duo retreating from the hard dubstep growl and sputter of “Echo Babylon” and “Inquisition Part III” for an electronic style that's subtler and perhaps more nuanced. Such moments suggest the Mattas are wise enough to recognize the corner an overly singular-minded approach might paint them into and so occasionally deviate from a focus on hard dubstep. On production grounds, the album's material is solid, with Matta's crisp breaks providing strong foundations for the tracks' voice samples and bass fire.

January 2011