Could the swansong single from Matthew Dear’s Black City be anything but “Slowdance,” that tender piece of goth romanticism tucked between “Little People (Black City)” and “Soil To Seed”? It has such a distinct tone of finality to it—a central, lullaby-like synth, glowing like a streetlamp in fog; a gentle tempo that feels like it’s slowly prodding you to the end of an evening; Dear himself lamenting over that and a marble-mouthed vocal sample, sounding like he just got shot in the stomach, eyes glazed over with red. When he eeks out “I can’t begin to tell you everything’s fine,” it sounds like devastating truth. You’re almost waiting for the fade to black.
Such thrilling juxtapositions are part of what make Black City so great, and, by extension, what make its single releases impossible to ignore. Another seemingly disparate crew has been assembled for “Slowdance”—rising laptop impressionist How To Dress Well, whose ‘seance’ sounds like eighties R&B as heard from the bottom of a sewer drain; garage-house godfather Todd Edwards, slicing and dicing the original into funked-up, string-laden submission; Brooklyn indie princes Bear In Heaven, who rain all manner of dimestore synths and sample tomfoolery over the original; and L.A.’s too-infrequently-heard-from Photocall, whose electro-disco revamp of “You Put A Smell On Me” sounds like Alex Van Halen playing with Egyptian Lover. And then there’s “Innh Dahh,” a beautiful, into-the-light b-side that’s found life in the live encore.
This being the final Black City-related release, Ghostly’s also rounded up a list of favorites from the other singles, including remixes from electronic luminaries Nicolas Jaar, Breakbot, Sascha Dive, and Mark E, never before collected on CD. ‘Cause when it’s last call, you might as well have one more collective toast.
Depending on whom you ask, Matthew Dear is a DJ, a dance-music producer, an experimental pop artist, a bandleader. He co-founded both Ghostly International and its dancefloor offshoot, Spectral So...check out Matthew Dear's page and other releases