Matt Valentine – What I Became

January 01, 1970

 (Woodsist Records) 



Putting on an album by MV &
EE, that would be Matt Valentine and his illustrious partner Erika Elder, is to
shift into interstellar overdrive, or at least experience a hallucinatory
out-of-body experience. After cutting over a dozen albums together, plus a
couple accompanied by the Golden Road and the other with the Bummer Road, with
J Mascis sitting in, Matt settled into the studio for this mostly solo effort.
High upon their list of cheerleaders are ace music journalist Byron Coley and
guitar-god Thurston Moore. While personally owning much of their catalog, and
regularly playing Barn Nova and the
live Meet Snake Pass and Other Conditions, I’m a little embarrassed to
say that I enjoy them the most when settled into bed in the evening with a good
book. I find spacey stuff like this excellent background music to unwind to.


That said, and appreciating the
rave reviews Coley (and his whole family) gave What I Became, MV & EE fans may be a little disappointed to find
a couple of the songs lean more towards Kottke and Fahey than the usual Neil
and Crazy Horse on Ecstasy. Matt’s able and nimble picking only improves with
time, but mix in a couple slow numbers and they tie the album down to the
ground to some small degree. Endeavoring to keep an open mind about this, those
songs did grow on me after several playings, but were still somehow just a
little underwhelming compared to all that had come before. So, between Coley’s
rave review and my warm accolade, I suppose reality lays somewhere in between,
as we agree to agree to varying degrees.


Both “Stay” and Sweet Little Indian Girl” are pretty
slow and stony, so take your cues from that. Matt strains a little beyond his
range for some high notes in “Stay,” but gives it the old college try. “Ave B”
kicks off the album with the tried and true sound of older material from the
duo, followed by “Continuing the Good Life”, a pleasurable and peaceful guitar
solo with trippy touches of sitar, keyboard and a little “Oo-wah-oo” chorus in
the background. “Ease My Eyes” is a lay-back-in-your-coffin-and-relax slow,
desolate and otherworldly song layered with reverb, echoes and wah-wahing. The
two tunes that really blow the lid off are both resplendent and glorious in
their execution. “Hit The Trails” is a real brain-scrambler, replete with
psychedelic noodling and chock-full-of-notes to a myriad degree. This is pretty
much the essence of the MV & EE experience. Even better, is the following
song, “PK Dick” which features glistening sitar, tabla and warbling wah-wah
pedal-pushing. This I would count as the true mind-blower out of the seven
tunes here. All in all, this is another fine offering in the long line of
creative outings from Mr. Valentine, with or without the accompaniment of his
partner or friends. I’m sure I’ll be following their releases far into the
future. As Patti Smith lyrically observed, “…Some strange music
draws me in, makes me come on like some heroin.”


        DOWNLOAD: “PK Dick,”
“Hit The Trails.” BARRY ST. VITUS

Matt “MV” Valentine: “PK Dick” by alteredzones

Leave a Reply