Album Reviews

Matthew Young “Recurring Dreams” (Drag City/Yoga Records)

matthewyoung

With the sudden interest in private-press New Age over the last year, many long-lost jewels have been extracted from obscurity and brought into a broader light. One such record is Recurring Dreams, the debut release from Matthew Young, originally released in 1981 and reissued this summer by Drag City imprint Yoga Records.

Recurring Dreams is a record outside of time and space, a venerable collection of eight electronic numbers composed using an EMS/Rhodes keyboard. With the most basic of instrumentation, Young paints a picture of a futuristic, computerized, electronic—but not necessarily alien—world. While there are shades of the master of ambient music, Brian Eno, to be found in “Night Music,” “Recurring Dreams,” and “Late Poets,” on the whole, Young’s sound is entirely his own. Best of the lot would have to be the epic “The Forest of Lilacs,” a very hushed twelve minute soundscape that would have sounded quite at home on Editions EG, and the uptempo New Wave of “First Blood,” a fine soundtrack-worthy number in the vein of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream.

It should be noted that in order to fully appreciate Recurring Dreams, one should listen to it with headphones, as some tracks—such as opening “Mistral” and the aforementioned “The Forest of Lilacs” contain moments so wispy that they’re nearly inaudible. Still, the forty-three minutes required to ingest the whole of Recurring Dreams is time well spent, a very subtle journey into sonic space that still sounds quite ahead of its time thirty-three years later.

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