It’s not that I don’t really want to be writing this piece. It’s just that I want others to be writing this piece too, or similar pieces about this artist. The reason I am writing this piece though is that, for some reason, others have not. But I was thinking about it over the weekend and since I really cannot figure out why one of the most exciting, creative, alternative and upcoming artists in Scotland, if not the UK, is not getting the press attention he really deserves, I thought I would try and get the ball rolling and acknowledge his importance. And I want to be clear, we are not talking simply about a musician here. We are talking about an artist.
Matthew Collings is, first and foremost, my friend. Since I met him back in 2010, my musical life has been much richer and through working with him, I have become a much better musician and person. I genuinely believe that. His no bullshit approach to music is refreshing. There is no back slapping or telling people they are great because he doesn’t want to offend. What he wants to do is challenge, so the truth will out. And the truth can be hard to hear, yet it is what makes us better artists, makes us want to strive to be better and to create things that resonate, not just exist. That’s the theory anyways. And it ties in beautifully with a piece I read at the weekend about Damon Albarn. Basically he said “The problem I have, is that the minute I’ve done one thing, I want to do something else. I find it hard to respect a lot of successful bands and musicians, because, although there can be subtle, nuanced changes in what they do, there aren’t any really bold new moves, lyrically or sonically or melodically. Yet it seems like the world is completely satisfied with that situation. I mean, that’s fine. But the idea of slowly grinding out a huge career, based on ‘This is what you get when you buy this kind of record” – I just find that a bit…” It’s this need to challenge, to always evolve, to move in different directions, to not be predictable and add to the general noise, that makes Collings stand out from the rest.
We at mini50 have just released his new record under the moniker Sketches for Albinos ‘Fireworks and the Dead City Radio’, so part of the purpose of this post is to help promote this brilliant record. We are extremely proud to have released this and the whole thing is looking quite beautiful coming on 12” vinyl and featuring a photo book by Matt’s girlfriend, the very talented Elin Svennberg. All in all it is a lovely piece of art, which if I didn’t run the label I would definitely want to own myself and have in my vinyl collection.
However, it’s the cumulative impact of Matt’s work that I think deserves recognition and to be talked about more in the media. If we look at last year’s solo release ‘Splintered Instruments’ alone, he deserves more than he got in terms of press attention. Between his solo work, released under his own name, and his work as Sketches for Albinos he already has an impressive résumé. With other albums under both these guises complete and lined up for future release his stock as a musician is ever increasing. And not any old musician, but an exciting, ground breaking one. Throw in his work with Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX) and as one half of Graveyard Tapes, as well as being a member of Hiva Oa and you have an artist who not only stands out from the crowd but is involved in exciting, alternative projects left, right and centre.
Thing is, Matt is important not only as a recording artist but as an artist in his own right, working with dance companies, creating installations for the likes of NEoN Digital Arts Festival and even starting work on an audio visual performance based around the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden – a project that has received financial support from Creative Scotland and New Media Scotland
So, the creative industries are taking note of Matt but I think there should be a wider recognition of his work. And I think one of the biggest failings in music in the UK – and further afield – is this satisfaction with the mediocre that pervades. I use the word genius very rarely but when a true genius is floating well below the radar sometimes you have to shout about it. And my voice may not be heard above the mundane noise of every day but I hope that it is. I hope that this piece makes a whole load of you go and check out his work. Not just the record on mini50 – though do have a look – but his whole body of work because he deserves the attention. He deserves the recognition. He deserves to be heard, because he is a distinct and powerful voice amongst the every day crackle and hiss. And that is exciting.