Matthew Cardinal’s Debut Album is a Glacial Sonic Journal

Photo | Chelsea Boida

Matthew Cardinal has announced his debut solo album, Asterisms.

Asterisms is a dazzling collection of ambient electronic music that crystallizes moments in the Edmonton-based musician’s life. It’s described by the label, Arts & Crafts, as an audio journal that explores “captured moments of experimentation and expression,” drawing attention to where Cardinal was musically, mentally, and emotionally in these moments.

Cardinal created it using analogue synthesizers, a small modular system, samplers, electric piano, and processed voice. Each sonic entry came out naturally in improvisational waves, recorded often in single days if not single takes, usually set up on the floor of Cardinal’s bedroom.

We’re told that the album calls to mind the luxurious minimalism of Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich, and Glenn Gould, and the swirling influence of Fennesz, Boards of Canada, and Slowdive.

Alongside the announcement, Cardinal has shared “May 24th,” the result of experimenting with generative synthesis and syncing external equipment, playing around and having multiple sound sources playing the same melody.

It’s accompanying video, streaming below, is shot by visual artist SCKUSE, or Stephanie Kuse. Inspired by Cardinal’s night-time flash photography, Kuse set out to create “something soft, hypnotic, and pretty to suit the music that also reflected the dreamy and nostalgic nature of his photos,” she recounts. She spent a few evenings out collecting footage until she stumbled on the right material— wildflowers and grass going in and out of focus as the camera trailed behind. The footage was processed through an old television to enhance the vibrancy and to add subtle distortion.

Cardinal is known for his work in nêhiyawak, the moccasingaze trio whose debut album, nipiy, is currently nominated on the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist.

Tracklisting

01. Dec 31st
02. May 25th
03. May 24th
04. Dec 4th
05. May 7th
06. Mar 12th
07. Sep 7th
08. Aug 23rd
09. Sep 11th
10. Jan 8th
11. July 23rd

Asterisms LP will be released on October 27 on digital and vinyl formats. Meanwhile, you can stream “May 24th” below and pre-order here.

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