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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Matt Weston – Sparky 4 (self released, 2022)

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos

The Sparky series, a somewhat of a serialized percussion opera as Matt Weston describes it, has reached its fourth installment, presenting what is probably the best and most playful of the four. As I have written here before, Weston deserves much more attention than what he is receiving right now. I know this description fits to a lot or artists nowadays, so, do the right thing and support them.

Weston, ironically I guess, comments that Sparky 4 is for percussion ensemble and electronics. Obviously it is his solo venture (otherwise pity the poor reviewer who got it all wrong), one that –another guess here- keeps him going through the hardships of the covid era dystopia. Everything is done by Weston himself apart from the mastering by the great Jason Lescalleet. Sparky 4 comes out as a limited cassette only release, but listening to it as a download I’m not exactly sure if it is the same experience. I’m not the biggest fan of cassettes, to be honest, and I strongly believe that the wearing down audio capacity of the cassette is not providing the best service for Sparky 4.

Clocking in almost at twenty minutes, both sides are full of ideas, gestures, blasts, blowouts and a-rhythmic atonalities. Apart from his playful approach he seems eager to present a narrative to the listener. This narrative moves in more than one way. Sometimes interrupting a fresh idea to follow a different path, other times locking in one percussive gesture and following it. Both tracks (one each side) are complex and packed with small or bigger moves. There are a lot of electronics involved but I can only comment on that as a listener with minimal technical knowledge on this field.

I find the music in Sparky 4 truly innovative and fresh and even though a download never reveals all the sonic possibilities of a recording, it seems to me that the Sparky series has still to offer as he is just now providing his best efforts. More to come, I guess. As all proceeds go to the Transgender Law Center, check it out here: