Tales From The Forbidden Garden, Album, 2012

solo album


Susan Matthews
Tales From The Forbidden Garden
Sirenwire Recordings, Catalogue number: SW100

Outsider mentalist Susan Matthews is doing something a bit different on this new CD. It’s all been based around a series of guitar ‘jams’ on an analogue tape given to Susan by her friend Laurence Kain shortly before he died. What she’s done here is take those jagged, percussive jams, cut them up, manipulated them, and provided her own vocals and percussion and various other instruments to create something new and finished, and serve to document their friendship and Susan’s loss. At the start it’s a manic, deranged burst of wounded-animal aggression. Sonically chaotic and grimy, lyrically vulnerable and raw, with the delivery alternately channelling Birthday Party-era Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch and Eve Libertine. In the quieter moments there’s often buzzes and creaks for a claustrophobic, panicky effect, and as the album progresses it moves more into disjointed, loop-based atmospheres. The songs are succinct enough to never lose your attention, conjuring surreal post-punk and chaotic noise and weird skittish atmospheres which are varied and focused and raw. A document of the final communique between two friends, there’s an almost invasive sense of intimacy here as the desperate, grief-cracked singing of closer ‘Almost As Already Is’ rings hazily out. It’s hard not to give it your full attention. An artful, honest and emotional mix of noise rock and ambient textures and altogether a unique and brave piece of work.

A Norman Records recommendation (3rd May 2012) – (5 out of 5 Stars)
Mike, Norman Records, May 2012

Susan Matthews
Tales From The Forbidden Garden
Sirenwire Recordings, Catalogue number: SW100

Patronne du label Siren Wire qui nous proposera bientôt le nouvel album de la pianiste Delphine Dora – entendue en début d’année au côté d’Half Asleep sur le théâtral et non moins habité You’re Not Mad, You’re Just Lonely  -, Susan Matthews ne manifeste pas vraiment le même genre de délicatesse sur son dernier album solo, petit chef-d’oeuvre de no wave schizophrénique et tourmentée conseillé notamment aux admirateurs d’Evangelista.

Dédié à un certain Laurence Kain, Tales From The Forbidden Garden est basé sur les expérimentations de ce guitariste ou plus exactement sur une série de jams enregistrés sur cassette juste avant sa mort et que la Galloise sample et malmène de toutes les manières imaginables au fil de ces 10 titres aussi fulgurants qu’irréductibles. No wave disions-nous, et donc par définition inclassable mais on ne manquera pas de distinguer sur l’album de gros morceaux de dub abrasif (Who Speaks For Truth ?), d’indus forcenée (The Middle Road), d’ambient discordante (Flinch, Recoil), de drone doom angoissé (Wretched Mess) voire même de black metal sur le cauchemardesque Chokeback où la poétesse noise se mue en prêtresse satanique entre deux flots d’incantations ésotériques – spectrales et entremêlées sur Zenith ou plus tribales et hypnotiques sur un Skin Layers Scars aux allures de rituel vaudou. Autant dire que du larsen étouffant d’In Your Eyes aux errances rampantes d’Almost As Already, le portrait écorché et anxieux que la musicienne a crûment choisi pour servir de pochette au successeur du fantomatique Alone In The Midnight Ocean ne pourrait mieux illustrer la brutale ambivalence d’un album résolument mortifère, où rage et fragilité s’entrelacent jusqu’à la folie.

Translation by Google Translate: Patroness of the label Siren Wire we will soon the new album by pianist Delphine Dora – heard earlier this year alongside Half Asleep in the theater and no less inhabited’re Not Mad, You’re Just Lonely – Susan Matthews does not really manifest the same kind of delicacy on this latest solo album, a small masterpiece of no wave and tormented schizophrenic recommended especially to fans of Evangelista.

Dedicated to a certain Laurence Kain, Tales From The Forbidden Garden is based on experiments of this guitarist or rather a series of jams on tape just before his death and that the Welsh sample and mauls in every way imaginable over the these 10 stocks as dazzling qu’irréductibles.

We said no wave, and therefore by definition category but we can not fail to distinguish the album chunks of abrasive dub (Who Speaks For Truth?) Of industrial frantic (The Middle Road), from ambient discordant (Flinch, Recoil), anguished drone doom (Wretched Mess) and even black metal nightmare on the poetess Chokeback where noise is transformed into a satanic priestess between two streams of esoteric incantations – spectral and intermingled on Zenith or over hypnotic and tribal Scars on Skin Layers voodoo-like ritual.

Suffice to say that the feedback of stifling the vagaries In Your Eyes Almost As Creepy Already, the portrait skinned and anxious that the musician was crudely chosen to serve as the successor to the ghostly cover Alone In The Midnight Ocean could better illustrate the brutal ambivalence of an album decidedly deadly, where rage and fragility intertwine to madness.

Indie Rock Mag, June 2012

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