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ARCHIVES | 2005 | MATAMORE STAGE | MATT ELLIOTT


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Biography

After 8 albums mainly published under the name of The Third Eye Foundation by Domino Recordings (Franz Ferdinand, The Kills, Pavement ...), Matt Elliott now lives and works in France and chose Ici D'ailleurs to release his 'Drinking Songs', which confirms his evolution towards a tormented folk, owing as much to his electronica as to his taste for Slavic & Eastern European music.

 

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Well known for his dark and organic songs as The Third Eye Foundation, his collaboration with Ici D'ailleurs started in 1999 when he remixed Yann Tiersen's 'La Dispute' on the label's sampler. This song also opens his remix album, 'I poopoo on your juju' (Domino Recordings).

Matt is an historical figure in electronic music. Originally from Bristol, UK, he started out with the Flying Saucer Attack project and AMP among others.

 

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Today, he translates the dark and oppressive atmospheres from his former works. Guitars and keyboards are getting softer, almost affectionate, sometimes overwhelmed by drum'n'bass beats that carry the song upward. Choirs and echoes give an almost mystical dimension to the album. All the songs hold the audience spell bound.

Matt Elliott has a real gift for carrying the listener to parallel worlds, for appealing to memories and imagination. His music floods the room and creates an insistent and hypnotic atmosphere, both lascivious and violent.

Yet another cult figure at the Rhâââ Lovely !

 

Discography

-) 1996 : 'Semtex' on Domino Recordings.

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-) 1996 : 'In Version' on Domino Recordings.

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-) 1996 : 'Universal Cooler' 7" on Planet PUNK015.

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-) 1996 : 'Semtex' 12" on Domino Recordings.

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-) 1996 : split 7" with KS Kollective on Obsessive Eye.

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-) 1997 : 'Ghost' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

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-) 1997 : 'Sound Of Violence' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

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-) 1998 : split 12" with V/VM on Fat Cat.

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-) 1998 : 'Fear Of A Wack Planet' on Domino Recordings.

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-) 1998 : 'You Guys Kill Me' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

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-) 1999 : 'In Bristol With A Pistol' on Domino Recordings.

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-) 2000 : 'What Is It With You' on Domino Recordings.

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-) 2000 : 'Little Lost Soul' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

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-) 2001 : 'I Poo Poo On Your Juju' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

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-) 2003 : Matt Elliott 'Borderline Schizophrenic' 10" on Domino Recordings.

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-) 2003 : Matt Elliott 'The Mess We Made' on Domino Recordings and Merge Records.

Splendid's point of view :
With this album, Third Eye Foundation sheds the esoteric name and becomes simply... Matt Elliott. From its opening track, The Mess We Made mostly eschews the obvious samples and stuttering beats that defined TEF, instead exploring sad music box melodies and rich sound combinations. There are exceptions -- the title track incongruously layers a tinny drum n' bass beat over cautious bass and a mournful blend of strings and wordless vocals -- but otherwise, this music sounds a lot like something Edward Scissorhands might compose if he could just play the damn piano.
"Let Us Break" is the first song, and one of the CD's most haunting. The trembling male/female duet between Elliott and Sabine Chaouch, the gloomy chimes and strings, even the warm but somber horns -- these are all so beautiful, they'll make you want to cry. For hours.
The Mess We Made has a completely organic sound, but still indulges Elliott's penchant for electronic experimentation. "Cotard's Syndrome" places a muttering host of reversed vocal samples over a pretty piano line. The effect is spookily lovely. "Also Ran" goes through several evolutions, switching from a fairytale-ish electric piano melody into a bizarre interval of lo-fi bossa nova back into muted melancholy. "The Sinking Ship Song" is a sly twist on traditional drinking sing-alongs. It includes the requisite accordion and chorus of inebriates, but the sounds are tweaked 'til they sound as if they're coming from the bottom of a lake. Eerie sine tones and creaking noises make the song more sinister than rollicking, and the lyrics are escapist cynicism at its blackest: "Life is filled with fear / So drink another beer / We'll have no sadness here / Until tomorrow".
The Mess We Made resembles a soundtrack to a movie with amazing cinematography, in which everyone either dies at the end or loses the one thing that gives life any meaning. There's a lot of sameness and blurring between tracks, and an abundance of recurring feelings if not exact themes. This makes it somewhat difficult to distinguish between songs the first few times through -- but the album is more an hour-long experience than a collection of separate six-to-eight-minute vignettes. The Mess We Made is a perfect depression CD; once you emerge from its sweet depths, it's hard not to feel better... even if you're a little disappointed to be back.

Sarah Zachrich - site.

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-) 2005 : Matt Elliott 'Drinking Songs' on Ici D'ailleurs.

Benzine's point of view :
Alors que The mess we made constitua en son temps (2003) une belle surprise et une évolution appréciable de la musique jouée par Mattt Elliott sous son propre nom, voici qu'arrive enfin la suite tant attendue des aventures de cet homme (tranquille ?) installé en France. Toujours aussi sombre et désespéré, Mattt Elliott enfonce encore un peu plus le clou avec un album une fois encore magnifique, dans la lignée de son précédent mais qui tire plus encore vers l'épure.
Originaire de Bristol, Mattt Elliott a longtemps privilégié les ambiances lourdes, à la limite de l'expérimental avec notamment des compositions baignées dans des rythmes drum'n'bass qui ont fait le succès de son travail sous le nom de The Third Eye Foundation. C'est donc avec son premier album sous son propre nom que commence la mutation. Il emprunte de nouvelles voies et donne à sa musique une nouvelle direction. Plus accessible, plus tranquille, emplies de douces mélodies à la mélancolie affirmée, ses nouveaux morceaux montrent un Matt Elliott qui s'éloigne un peu plus des machines pour aller vers une instrumentation plus traditionnelle mais avec toujours un fond de noirceur très présent.
Aujourd'hui sur drinking songs, il poursuit sur cette même voie et ne laisse toujours pas entrevoir le moindre filet de lumière. Voici donc 8 nouvelles compostions au charme troublant et envoûtant dans lequel tout rythme semble avoir bel et bien disparu, laissant toute la place à la voix, aux guitares, aux cordes, au piano. Forcément très captivants, les titres de l'album laissent l'imaginaire travailler et appelle des images de marins perdus chantant en chœur leur désespoir comme sur le splendide The Kursk.
Sondant une fois encore le plus profond de l'âme humaine, Drinking songs communique à merveille toute la mélancolie dont semble être rempli ce solide gaillard au physique imposant (voire ses prestations scéniques sont assez impressionnantes).
En guise de récréation, et pour renouer avec le passé, il signe avec The Maid we messed un dernier titre d'une vingtaine de minutes, au rythme drum'n'bass, dans lequel il reprend un thème au piano que l'on imagine tout droit sorti du répertoire de Yann Tiersen dans une sorte de final en apothéose, comme un feu d'artifice sonore et féerique. Troublant, magique, fascinant !

Benoît Richard - site.

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Audio

Two tracks of Matt Elliott are to be downloaded on Epitonic, while plenty of The Third Eye Foundation songs are available on Matt's website.

 

Web

-) Official site.
-) Ici D'ailleurs.
-) Merge Records.
-) Domino Recordings.