After knocking me (and many others) sideways with his first two releases on Kranky (the self titled record Boduf Songs and The Lion Devours The Sun) Mathew Sweet aka Boduf Songs has continued to release records of such immense quality. His most recent full length How Shadows Chase The Balance is in my opinion utterly astounding. On this album he uses a similar formula to what he has employed previously; one microphone, one acoustic guitar, selected field recordings, and a deft, understated touch with the mixing process. He locked himself away in his home studio and no one heard a single note until he was finished. This album is a further step away from the "folk" label, which never seemed all that appropriate to Mathew's work in any case. Boduf Songs might more rightly be construed as "acoustic death metal" considering Sweet's favoured themes of death, alienation, fear, hatred and isolation, as well as his affinity for gothic imagery.
More recently Boduf Songs released CD and vinyl versions of the Latitudes Session which was recorded at Southern Studios entitled The Strait Gait (limited to 1000 copies and with exclusive artwork from Mat Sweet himself). The result of this recording is two outstanding tracks, the first one "Please Extract My Teeth With Your Rustiest Pliers (For Redemptive)" sounds like it could have been used as the soundtrack to a 1970s horror film, with timely splashing cymbals, scratchy guitar sounds and deep thunderous drones. The second track "That Angel Was Fucking Piss" is quintessential Boduf, with brooding vocals, the crisp plucking of the acoustic guitar and every detail of every chord transition captured. Both songs are rich in timbre, creating an intense atmosphere for the listener to be well and truly absorbed.
There is no doubt that Mathew Sweet is an utterly distinctive artist, having developed an alchemical power to transform a minimal palette of common musical elements.
If you are based in London then I would urge you to watch Boduf Songs at the Flea Pit (49 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG) tomorrow night. Doors are at 7pm and it costs £5 in advance or more on the door.
For further information about the ever-expanding Boduf Songs catalogue please visit the Southern website.