Friday, March 29th, 2013
Presented by Atomique Productions and CFUV
When Matt Costa first started writing for his fourth full-length album, he envisioned the end result as a stripped-down selection of rootsy folk songs. But once he plunged into the songwriting process something much more grandiose and sonically adventurous began to emerge. Soon Costa found himself in the midst of a highly unanticipated yet deeply expansive evolution of artistry as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
“The songs started morphing and twisting and taking on a more mystic sound,” says Costa, “and at the same time I began opening up my sense of what’s possible with melody.”
Thanks to his resculpting those songs with elaborate yet naturalistic instrumentation and some boldly inventive merging of disparate musical styles—as well as decamping to Glasgow to record with longtime Belle & Sebastian/Mogwai cohort Tony Doogan and an illustrious ensemble of Scottish musicians—the new self-titled release proves to be Costa’s most ambitious and magnetic album to date.
For Costa—who taught himself to play guitar at age 12 by strumming along to Nirvana records—the musical evolution evinced on Matt Costa came from some careful studying of orchestral approaches to composing songs.
“Once I got really into writing I knew I was going to add strings to the songs, so I listened to a lot of symphonies and a lot of Mozart, then played around with figuring that all out on guitar,” says Costa. “It was a huge help in terms of giving me the inspiration to work with more interesting chords and these bigger, grander themes.”
Costa also focused on constructing songs that could accommodate horn arrangements, a throwback to his childhood days of playing the trumpet (an instrument he ended up pawning at age 17 to get the cash to purchase a Rolling Stones songbook).
Now, with the new self titled album, Costa’s ceaseless exploring of vast musical territory has yielded a selection of songs that carefully mine his influences while conjuring up an uncommonly fresh and visionary new sound.
“I was thinking about the Basement Tapes [a collection of tracks that Bob Dylan recorded with The Band in 1967] and how I always loved the way those songs made me feel, and also how they were all recorded so simply,” he says.
“With this album, part of what I wanted to do was work with all these big, overthe-top arrangements that burst open and take off into a whole new dimension—but still ultimately create that same kind of cool, pure feeling.”