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Live Review: Introducing BADBADNOTGOOD's Matty with his new single, 'Clear'

23 May 2018 | 4:24 pm | Kyle Fensom

Matthew Tavares, co-founder and pianist for BADBADNOTGOOD, strikes out on his own with the solo project, Matty and his psych-tinged debut single, 'Clear'

Since some donning creepy animal masks and uploading mysterious ODD FUTURE jam covers to the internet back in 2011 Toronto quintet BADBADNOTGOOD, often hailed as the saviours of modern jazz, have quietly become one of modern hip hop’s most influential acts - and one of the genre’s most fascinating success stories. When rumours rippled through that co-founder and pianist MATTHEW TAVARES was taking a break from BADBADNOTGOOD, fans were understandably concerned about the future of the group. But then Matthew returned with MATTY - his simply titled solo project - almost two years after his unexplained absences, sharing the singles ‘Embarrassed’ and ‘How Can He Be’.

Now, he’s also unveiled what he’s been working during his hiatus - a debut solo LP, jàvu, which is set to arrive June 15th and is being preceded by lead single, ‘Clear’.

Save for some faint vintage organs, the opening suite of the track is practically acapella, Matty’s dazed vocals gliding over backing harmonies that sound as if they could’ve been composed by BRIAN WILSON himself. This isn’t a coincidence: while the washed out wooziness and crisp, luxuriant production of the track easily recall his past work with BADBADNOTGOOD, Matty’s cascading vocal melodies point towards a new stylistic direction: 1960’s psychedelic pop.

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‘Clear’ moves with the slyly effusive structure of a late-era BEATLES track, constantly shape-shifting as it moves between sections, twisting its pop motifs around themselves as they translate between pitches, styles and instrumentation, such as when the same melodic pattern moves from Matty’s vocals during the verse, to pitched up backing harmonies, and then to some squelching synths. “Now that the feeling’s fadin’ / Where does it go when it’s not here?,” Matty ponders amidst a sublime soundscape of prismatic synths and expressively falling percussion that reads as an intimate, wistfully romantic daydream.

A strong wind of rising R&B and soul is blowing through Tavares’ native Toronto right now (see also: DANIEL CAESAR, CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON, MORMORE, RIVER TIBER, to name a few), and on ‘Clear’, Matty adds his own psych-tinged voice to that wind.

jàvu is out Friday, June 15th - you can preorder it here.

IMAGE: Eric Lachance