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Asa Breed
label: Ghostly
released: 07.02.07
our score: 3 out of 5.0

Get Asa Breed sheet music and guitar tab!

Matthew Dear - Asa Breed
by: Jonathan Arber

Asa Breed, the third album from Detroit-based techno producer Matthew Dear, sees him moving even further into pop territory. That’s pop with a small “p”, in the sense that almost every track clocks in at under the 4 minute mark, and all feature vocals, although Dear’s arch baritone is likely to put off casual listeners. LCD Soundsystem comparisons are inevitable, not least because Dear sometimes sounds like James Murphy, but ultimately fall wide of the mark. Asa Breed is closer in spirit to Beck or early Depeche Mode than LCD’s self-referential punk disco.

Dear’s techno pedigree is easily identifiable. Although a few steps removed from the harder material he produces under his Audion moniker, plenty of the tunes here would easily fit into a club techno set. But aside from the bubbling synths and off-kilter, pounding drum patterns that you might expect, there’s several sidesteps – final track Vine to Vine is an acoustic ballad with distorted spoken word vocals, underpinned by unnerving swishing noises and the occasional background wail.

When it all comes together, as on the light and airy “Pom Pom”, you get a sense for what Dear might be capable of, as he burbles about how “I’ve just got to figure out love” over an unfeasibly bouncy bass line and relentlessly jaunty synths. Unfortunately, the overall mood here is somewhat oppressive, partly due to the funereal vocals that occasionally bring to mind bad 80s goth rock, and partly due to the occasionally claustrophobic production. After a while, the whole experience becomes a bit wearing, the album sometimes seems longer than it is, and leaves you in need of a respite long before it reaches the end. But there’s plenty here to come back to, and it hints at great things still to come.


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