I’m sort of back! Settled in Taiwan at the least, although at the moment sans computer and, that being the case, my music. For the next few weeks until my computer––ahem, my girlfriend––flies in, I have some submissions I’d missed while away that I’d like to now put forward. The first of those, Ukrainian/Alabama-ian combo Heinali and Matt Finney.
It was kind of immediate for me with them. International collaboration, spoken-word delivery, DIY disposition and on. Cool beginnings of something to be formidable. The Lemonade EP, the disc in question here, is actually their second effort though, and a third is currently in the works. They seem to be honing their craft quick, and are among the newer generation of artists altogether accepting of the way digitalization has transformed the music industry, a quality indispensable for survival.
Matt Finney is the poet, screenwriter and spoken-word artist (and musician) holding things down Stateside for the duo. He’s got another project in Finneyerkes, and has released other media through dotContemporary. Heinali is a Ukrainian producer and composer, having released solo works through Dedicated Records. Together the pair pulls from both their strengths, and the result is a dark, ambient beatscape that manages to sound shoegazey without the muff and driving without the force. The Lemonade EP starts off with “A Beginning”, led in by programmed string swells of that creepy colonial ghost-house feel. Finney’s soft-spoken but suffered lyrics come in high in the mix, not so much in a baritone but deep enough to buzz the floor like a good bass. The song builds when Heinali rolls out a simple tom-and-high-hat routine and mid-paced chord progression that reminds me, in the greatest way possible, of the songs we’d all wrote in high school on pirated Cubase software. The layers here have depth though, and the song cycles itself over again until butting up into “Repeated”. The dark theme is heightened throughout the six tracks by melancholic piano, intense sets of triggered beats, more melodic guitars and sweeping strings, all which drop out on occasion to allow Finney a chance at convincing you of the perks of murkiness. “Pure Color” is particularly pale:
(lyrics removed by request)
The crunchy guitar and overall delivery though helps keep it all very much alive. However, the momentum they create with such little effort makes the EP pass all to fast; every time it ends I’m stuck thinking, ‘that was… 5 and 4 plus 4 1/2, 4 and, uh 9 plus 9 plus… 9… almost half an hour?!’ I’d be interested to see what they could do with a full slab of wax, or with an idea that took them out past the four-minute mark of most tracks. But they’ve got a great thing going as is, so all the more to ’em.
Imagine if the eighteenth-century composers had moved to Siberia and limited themselves to toy pianos and lengths of string, or if the Album Leaf not only knew of lost love but of complete misery and experiments with horse tranquilizers, or if the members of Enablers had gotten together twenty years ago, or something along those lines. Maybe I’m not selling it for your summer road trips, but Heinali and Matt Finney do create quite a grand listening experience otherwise.
To download the Lemonade EP, click here.
For other information on Heinali and Matt Finney, see