Matt Baldwin – Mysteries [Review]

Cassette, Psychic Arts, 2021

Maybe I’m not the only one who discovered Baldwin through his consistent flow of How to Play Guitar zines, which are packed with inspirational heuristics for music & life, obscure guitarist references, and refreshingly un-technical prescriptions to exploring your own creative voice. After absorbing the first four volumes, it was time for me to connect some sounds to the ideas, starting with Mysteries (2021). These process-based guitar meditations feel like introspective encounters with the unknown, never diving into chaos but leading you safely to the edge for observation. The improvisatory explorations retain a grounded focus that feels especially therapeuticunsurprising considering they were recorded between sessions at his psychotherapy office. While anyone reading the zines can easily list dozens of Baldwin’s professed influences, the looper guitar-trances and minimalistic drum machine pulse of Side A seem to extend a clear trajectory from Durutti Column’s ambient pop back to proto-new age kosmische shredders like Manuel Göttsching & Popol Vuh’s Conny Veit. Without any of the rhythmic drive of the first half, Side B floats down on a more shadowy note, landing somewhere between Neil Young’s haunting Dead Man score and Günter Schickert‘s underappreciated guitar & tape machine masterpieces, referenced specifically on the humming Samptphasenvögel interlude. Whether you’re looking for guitar inspiration, late-night reading music, or seductive beckonings leading you into the zone, Mysteries won’t steer you wrong.

Style: Neo-Psychedelia, Ambient Pop, Kosmische, Minimal Wave, Post-Minimalism

Vibes: Hypnotic, Introspective, Dreamy, Therapeutic, Mysterious, Focused, Exploratory, Contemplative, Meditative

Musical Qualities: Atmospheric, Solo, Loops, Repetitive, Pulse, Minimalistic

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