It’s been a year and a half since Matthew Dear’s last original release. In the ever-evolving world of electronic music, that is a long time. What’s changed?
If you’re familiar with Dear’s lengthy back catalogue up to this point, don’t expect a cataclysmic change in sound palette. Sonically, Headcage is a continuation of the sensual, pad-laden techno explored on 2010’s excellent Black City. Headcage, though, shows both Dear’s more playful side – the titular track and ‘In the Middle (I Met You There) – and his more reflective side – the last two tracks, ‘Street Song’ and ‘Around A Fountain.’
Frankly, the former two could easily have fit on Black City, but it’s the the latter where new avenues are explores. On those two tracks percussion is minimal, allowing the Michigan producer’s unorthodox tendencies to breathe. ‘Around A Fountain’ is particularly impressive. It comes across like an amorphous hymn for the sleep-deprived raver; a lullaby for lost seratonin interjected with shamanic groans.