Depending on whom you ask, Matthew Dear is a DJ, a dance-music producer, an experimental pop artist, a bandleader. He co-founded both Ghostly International and its dancefloor offshoot, Spectral Sound. He’s had remixes commissioned by The XX, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Spoon, Hot Chip, The Postal Service, and Chemical Brothers; he’s made mixes for the Fabric mix series and Get Physical’s Body Language.
Matthew Dear’s 2003 full-length Ghostly debut, Leave Luck to Heaven, is a suite of sparse, wickedly funky house laced with Dear’s deep, distinctive vocals, and includes the much-loved single “Dog Days” (voted one of Pitchfork’s Top 100 Songs of the Decade). The record was met with rapturous acclaim from both the dance-music establishment and the critical press, including a four-star review in Rolling Stone. Dear’s 2007 follow-up,
Asa Breed, is a considerable departure from Heaven’s dancefloor excursions, incorporating the polyrhythms of Afrobeat, the irreverent pop sensibilities of Brian Eno, and the austere beauty of Krautrock. More four-stars reviews followed (Q and Mojo magazines), and Dear subsequently began touring with a live three-piece band, Matthew Dear’s Big Hands, in which he acted as frontman, commanding the stage with a Bryan Ferry-like swagger and a gentleman’s grace.
Today, Matthew Dear finds himself in a unique position. His fourth album, 2010’s Black City, is the culmination of years of hard work and experimentation, a darkly playful sound-world that envelops the listener like the arms of a malevolent lover. After over a decade of exploring pop’s outer limits, Matthew Dear now inhabits a rarefied corner of the musical universe: no longer tethered to any one genre, respected by his peers, and blessed with a bottomless well of creative energy. Now is Matthew Dear’s moment, and it sounds like nothing else.