LISTEN TO NEW SINGLE ‘JAMIE’S’ HERE
JANUS LP OUT FEB 5TH ON DRIFTLESS RECORDINGS
VINYL PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW
“Matt Kivel’s music is soft. It’s soft and delicate and pure and real, the silky instrumentation starting out quietly before blossoming wonderfully.” – Stereogum
“Expert storytelling, Matt Kivel’s voice unravels across the minimal sonic template which is occasionally shot through with blasts of feedback.” – CLASH Music
Los Angeles-based songwriter Matt Kivel releases his third album, Janus, via Driftless Records on 5th February 2016, recorded in Glasgow by Drag City folk musician Alasdair Roberts.
As Kivel would have it, the album “begins and ends” with its producer. “At the time, I was listening obsessively to a few of Ali’s records,” he explains. “I didn’t know him. I’d never been to Glasgow before. But his music was just everywhere in my life at that time.” As Matt worked on the album at home, with Alasdair’s music “ringing in my ears, day and night,” he decided to write to Roberts and reach out about a collaboration.
“I thought he would make a great producer,” says Kivel, “Though to my knowledge, he had never produced an album by anyone other than himself.” After a few months of sending demos made on Garageband, he made the trip to Glasgow, sleeping in Roberts’ living room and immersing himself in the local music community. “I didn’t know anyone in the city and felt pretty isolated at first,” Kivel remembers of his time in the city. “Ali was such a gracious host. We quickly became good friends. He even helped me pick out a ring box that I would later use to house the engagement ring that I would propose to my wife with.”
The album was recorded over a fortnight at Green Door Studio, where Roberts had made two of his earlier LPs, with a group of musicians hand-picked by Roberts for being “some of Scotland’s best musicians and coolest people.” That’s not to say that Janus wears its Caledonian influence on its sleeve; in amongst broken folk hymnals like the title track and ‘Orpheus, there are ‘Prime Meridian’’s flashes of jazz piano, the unexpected hints of Nels Cline-esque guitar noise which appear on ‘Jamie’s’, and some glimmering rays of Californian sunshine pop.
Janus isn’t always an easy record to take in; despite its easy-going recording process, it’s home to some of Kivel’s darkest material yet. However, as a marker of where folk music can go in 2016, and as a document of a friendship between two musicians at the top of their game, it’s essential listening.
JANUS – TRACKLISTING
04. Prime Meridian
05. No Return
08. The Shining Path
10. Palm Beach