Detroit's Matthew Dear became a techno MVP in 2003, on the strength of excellent material he'd released under three different names: Jabberjaw (the Perlon 12-inch Girlfriend), False (a self-titled album on Plus 8), and of course plain old Matthew Dear (Leave Luck to Heaven, on Spectral Sound/Ghostly International). Each disc has its own distinct identity: the Jabberjaw EP is glitch funk with a clicking drum track, a quick-clipped bass line, and a buried, cut-up vocal hook; False is straight, stripped-down techno, the hardest of the three. Dear sounds like he's having the most fun being himself, though: Heaven is split between electro-kissed instrumental fare and poppier tracks where he sings like he's got a digital pillow over his face. On "But for You" he lays suave vocals over undulating, twinkling synths and a faltering bass pattern, and on "Dog Days" he combines a melody that could be a feel-good TV theme ("Up With Robots," maybe), a jittery keyboard pattern that bops back and forth like a Chic rhythm-guitar track, and a string-synth hooklet that brings to mind Derrick May's early work as Rhythim Is Rhythim. Dear's Backstroke, due this summer from Spectral, combines elements from all three of his recent personas: "Another," with its pitter-pat beat, could have been a Jabberjaw B side; "Takes on You" has an off-balance minimalism reminiscent of False; and the Latin-house cut "And in the Night" somehow manages to be even more exuberant than "Dog Days." Hieroglyphic Being and Noleian open. Thursday, May 27, 9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago; 312-226-7600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jessica Miller.