On his brand new album, Matthew J Van Howe explores Ambient and Electronica sounds. In addition, you’ll get delighted with chilled vibes as it is filled with beautiful synths. Well, it is up to your imagination and ears to define the ‘Emergent Narrative’. Learn more about this interesting project below.
1 – First of all, what makes ‘Emergent Narrative’ different from your previous records?
To begin with, this album has no vocals which is quite different from my previously released music. One of the design rules I set for myself in ‘Emergent Narrative’ was that I wanted no hooks that would be stuck in your head and to make each track unpredictable so that you would need to follow the song and the album in the moment.
Brian Eno and Liquid Mind for their ambient music for sure. Classic synth influence came from Wendy Carlos and John Carpenter. Hans Zimmer and Ryuichi Sakamoto influenced cinematic moments.
3 – What message are you trying to send with these new songs?
As the title suggests, I want people to listen and tell their own stories as they progress through the album.
Personally, I like “Scarlet” a lot. It has a depth of complexity horizontally from a higher-pitched synth in 3/4 time looping with the 4/4 time of the rest of the piece only connecting every 12 measures which complete a cycle almost like months in a year. It appeals to my mathematical side and the analog to years in a lifetime is poetic in a sense.
5 – How long did it take you to produce it?
From start to finish I’d say a little over 2 months.
6 – Do you think music videos are important in order to promote your career these days?
Interesting question. I think in general, people don’t actively listen to music as much as they used to so as far as promotion I think videos are a good tool. With the resurgence of Vinyl, I think that is changing. This album was designed to be actively listened to and not watched, so I don’t think a music video fits the intent or design very much.
At present, I have not tried TikTok. I am interested in apps that are centered around music, however.
8 – Did you ever consider giving up or retiring from the music industry?
I did stop making music for a while to pursue making movies and also board games, but I’ve returned once again and it makes me happy.
9 – How many synths do you own? Which model is the best?
I own about 4 different synths. On the album, I used a lot of the ARP 2600, Prophet 5, and Arturia’s digital emulation of the Fairlight CMI. In my opinion, they have these lush textures that I used to create rich, gentle soundscapes.
10 – What else can we expect from Matthew J Van Howe in 2020?
I am mastering a 25 song improvised piano album entitled, ‘Memories I Would Otherwise Forget’ that will be out later this year.