Listening to Matteah Baim.

Matteah Baim has completed three studio albums: Laughing Boy (2009), Death of the Sun (2007), and Metallic Falcons’ Desert Doughnuts (2006). She has performed in conjunction with Antony and the Johnsons’ US performances of The Crying Light and their Another World Installation-Performance, Vashti Bunyan’s film release, From Here to Before, and Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit at the Shoreline Amphitheater. She has also toured with artists such as Lichens and Jana Hunter and performed at ATP U.K. Baim has created soundtracks for the films of Susanne Winterling and Pillars of Fire. She has been featured in exhibitions at MoMA, James Cohan Gallery and The Dispatch Gallery. She lives and works in New York City.

          

Matteah Baim with Devendra Banhart and Antony 2009

Call us fanciful if you like, but as soon as we heard Baim’s unsettlingly calm, contemplative music, we immediately thought of it as not so much quiet as lacking-in-noise. To confirm our suspicions, we called Matteah up at home in New York to discuss noise and silence, and how her music – featuring low sonic rumbles and abstract effects, her plaintive vocals and guests such as Devendra Banhart – was suggestive either of residual pain after a squall of emotion, or of impending thunder.

And now here she is, with her dark and dolorous music, which has been called many things. We wondered – plucking several descriptions out of thin air charged with electric ions – whether we should proceed by labelling it folk noir, avant-acoustica, ballad oscuro, Nico in neo-folk hell, or susurrating 21st century shadowplay? “Susurrating 21st century shadow play!?” she replied instantly. “That is incredible. Let’s go with that one.” Matteah Baim’s sound world is monumental” -Mojo.


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