Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2: Star Stuff
Out March 31st
Given the state of modern music and its fabricated pop icons, what Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2 achieves is a collective music victory in a new era of progressive soundscapes. World-renowned composer/producer extraordinaire Chaz Bundick (Toro Y Moi, Les Sins) has teamed up with the psychedelic-jazz grooves of The Mattson 2 for an album that unifies a trio’s creativity into a refreshing project of unhinged sonic originality.
Oddly enough, this collaboration may not have happened if The Mattson 2 hadn’t forgotten a drum throne at an Oakland performance in 2014. The twin’s longtime friend and photographer, Andrew Paynter, came to the rescue and called his friend Chaz to ask about borrowing the throne. Jonathan, the Mattson drummer (who’d also never met Chaz), accompanied Andrew to Chaz’s home in Berkeley where they were greeted by Chaz with a warm smile, a drum stool in hand, and Michael, Chaz’s dog (which his Les Sins record Michael is named after).
The next day Andrew and the twins met Chaz at a cafe in Berkeley to return the gear. Over coffee they waxed about music, design, furniture, and skateboarding. After a series of hangs with Chaz in the Bay Area, the crew decided to join forces and schedule studio time for their newfound trio. And the rest, as they say, is intergalactic, mega-creative history.
In February of 2016 the relationship was officially christened the night they finished tracking their new record. And to tie the knot with flare, they scheduled a secret show at the Battery and a historical public show at the Starline Social Club in Oakland, where the trio performed all new music from the project for the first time live.
The group and the album, Chaz Bundick Meets Mattson 2, explores psychedelic, jazz, and improvisatory influences ranging from Afrofuturistic Sun Ra, to electric Miles Davis, to groove-fueled Serge Gainsbourg and The Zombies. Grounding the album are break-beats, synthesizers, acoustic strums, and guitar fuzz reminiscent of David Axelrod and Arthur Verocai. With cosmic structures, timeless influences, rich harmonies, and melodic interplays, the trio brings an intergalactic edge to both their live shows and an album worthy of repeated visits. PRE-ORDER HERE
Introducing The Mattson 2
Identical twins Jared and Jonathan Mattson have been playing their swinging songs up and down California for years. Among their many accomplishments, they were nominated for best jazz band in San Diego by City Beat Magazine, have a following in Japan, contributed a song to Thomas Campbell’s surf movie The Sprout and toured with the movie when it was released, and occasionally accompany Ray Barbee when he performs. After perfecting their unique melange of hot jazz, cool jazz, and contemporary post-rockist tendencies through ceaseless practice and tireless gigging, the band has released Introducing the Mattson 2. The twins at their best here, along with Aakaash Israni, who regularly accompanies them on bass, and the disc features guest appearances by fellow labelmate Barbee on guitar, John McEntire (Tortoise/Sea and Cake), and host of other musicians.
Recorded by John McEntire at Soma Studio in Chicago and Monte Vallier in San Francisco, Introducing the Mattson 2 is at times evocative of Ennio Morricone, Charles Mingus, and The Chicago Underground Duo. This lush record contains surprise after surprise–from the warm tones of the opening song, “Longing of the Leftist,” to the Ornette Coleman tendencies of “Julian the Mountain,” to the sophistication of “Met,” down to the last notes of “X=6, Y=8.”
The musical journey that is the Mattson 2 has culminated with the release of their latest album, “Feeling Hands.” After two years of touring, writing and collaborating, both Jonathan (drums) and Jared (guitar/bass) have created a record that celebrates the sounds and visions of a band hitting their collective stride at precisely the right moment.
Steeped in a breezy jazz brilliance and the swagger of surf and sun, “Feeling Hands” is an open invitation to an uncharted destination of artistry. Perhaps what’s most remarkable about “Feeling Hands” is the journey it creates for the listener, incorporating numerous influences throughout both the music and recording process. Moreover, it’s the uncanny ability of a duo to create a vintage sound that can champion the riffs of Dick Dale while triggering the confidence of Morrissey and the swoon of Chet Baker.
Agar finds the Mattsons striding into a new realm of sound that blends their signature jazz soundscapes with the ethereal sonic structures and haunting landscapes of improvisational Raga techniques. This time around, the Mattson 2 have gone deeper and darker, balancing a perfect ebb and tidal flow of sound to create something truly mesmerizing. In order to create the stunning musical journey of Agar, the Mattson 2 went to the studio with producer Thomas Campbell and the legendary John X Volaitis – who has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Phoenix. And for the first time ever, the Mattson 2 recorded the album live in the studio, further adding to the exciting layers of improvisation and perfectly composed chaos.
The much-anticipated follow-up to their dynamic Feeling Hands (2011) is truly a marvel of jazz-rock orchestration and arrangement. The droning vistas of Agar are as technically liberating as they are hauntingly avant-garde. And it shows the twins more telepathically connected than ever as they move in and out of colorful Raga forms and the exotic landscapes that transcend the concept of modern musical performance.
Taking the album name from the gelatinous substance that binds and connects items in a petri dish (also “Raga” backwards), one could say Agar is the perfect figurative definition of a duo continually fueling and feeding each other’s sensational musical creativity. Agar shimmers and shakes with sagely nods to the past and the soaring modern wizardry of Jared’s untamed guitars and Jonathan’s tribally-hard-bop drumming. With Campbell and Volaitis at the helm, Agar’s vast sounds and stylings explore new levels of sonic compositions while further connecting the unique kinship of the Mattson sound. Agar is awash with the sun and surf as much as it is mysterious metal jazz. It's an album that glistens with a beautiful weirdness, conjuring images of neon-light rain dances and electric fireworks into the darkening summer skies.
Agar has also found the Mattson 2 teaming up with Farmer Dave Scher (who has worked with Interpol, Kurt Vile and Vitiver). Scher’s musical capabilities bring a unique (and pivotal) symphonic layer to the diverse Agar sound vistas. And for the first time, the Mattson 2 have brought in a voice to add to the emotional complexity of Agar. Maryann Tran brings her unique hypnosis of wordless sounds that are both euphoric and “Easternly” majestic. All of this adds up to make a layer cake of moody sounds, hypnotizing effects, and otherworldly innovations. And further pushing the Mattson 2 into exciting new musical directions that don’t just go with the flow...they make the flow. Enjoy!
RAY BARBEE MEETS THE MATTSON 2
The Mattson 2 have been playing together since they were conceived–as it should be for twins–and they’ve been playing their brand of jazz for nearly as long. The idea that Ray Barbee, guitarist extraordinaire, should team up with the Mattsons gestated much more recently. Both the twins and Barbee share a lot of commonalities: clean, fluid musicianship, a love of jazz in all its forms, and recording for Galaxia. It seemed inevitable that sooner or later they would collaborate on something special.
So, how did they meet? Barbee would be playing a show with his own band and every now and then the Mattsons would also happen to play the same gig–so a mutual appreciation soon developed. As the twins started recording the songs that would become Introducing the Mattson 2, they kicked around the idea to have Barbee play on a track for the record. That initial recording went so well that the three began to write and practice with a whole album in mind. This is the result.
Chocolat and Akito Meets the Mattson 2
This is Mattson 2's collaboration with the dream-soaked sounds of Japanese vocal duo Chocolat and Akito. This avant-pop-jazz record, mixed by the great John McEntire (Tortoise, Broken Social Scene) at SOMA Electronic Music Studios, is a gravity-defying evolution for the Mattson sound with exciting new directions of tropicali vibes, ethereal vocal layers, and a slew of flaming new melodies.
Beautiful original cover artwork by Tortoise's very own John Herndon.