Matt Howden - Intimate & Obstinate - 1999


If you were interested in the review of Sol Invictus´s "Trieste" I wrote time ago, and if this interest increased with Sally Doherty´s "On the outside" review, now I introduce you the other musician who, with Sally and Tony Wakeford, participated in the recording of "Trieste". The name of this musician is Matt Howden and it is unjust to say that he is only Sol Invictus violinist, since Matt has also participated in projects such as L´Orchestre Noir, Howden/Wakeford, Sieben, Sally Doherty and many more. It would be unjust too to say that he is a violinist because he also plays cello, guitar, bass, piano, mandolin, sings, produces, arranges...


Nevertheless, and as I already warned with Sally's CD, the solo projects of the members of Sol Invictus don't have musically comparisons with the sound of the band -in fact, the Howden´s projects are different themselves -. On the other hand we could find conceptual similities because Wakeford, Doherty and Howden are always searching for sounds and experimentation without limit. In fact, "Intimate & Obstinate" is a CD difficult to listen to in a first attemp since Matt´s musical proposal is the conjunction of classic elements (bass, keyboards, violins, piano, saxo) with contemporary and vanguard elements (electronic basses, filter sounds, blips, etc.), so the result is an experimental risk strongly fixed on a classic base. In fact, I would say that I&O can be an excellent acquisition for both fans of experimental progressive rock and camera rock fans ("Intimate; cadence" (4:47); "Obstinate; obdurate" (5:32)), and fans of vanguard and classic music of middle XX century ("Lucullus" (5:32); "Obstinate; tenacious" (4:50); "Intimate; cherished" (3:02)). The highlight of the album is the last track titled "Germane" (10:47), very original and with melancholic violins which carries the listener into unexplored lands while the rest of instruments and the heavenly voices melt themselves creating a mattress of crystalline textures.


Although "Intimate & Obstinate" is not a symphonic rock CD, I´m sure it would be labelled with progressive rock label. If you mix the early Nyman ("ZOO") with the early David Cross, a sauce of "Larks tongues in Aspic" and you recover the result with a liquor of After Crying and Stockhausen, you would have something similar to this great CD. Bon appetit.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - March 2001 -   - Red Room