This month the album I received from ‘That Special Record‘ subscription service was ‘Mirage Tape Recordings 1979-83’ by Carl Matthews. Now what can I tell you about Carl Matthews that you don’t already know? Well, he was an American character actor and stuntman of the 1930s through 1950s. Born on February 19, 1903 in Oklahoma, his first film role would be in Rough Riding Ranger in 1935. Over the next 33 years, Mathews would appear in over 200 films, shorts, and television shows, either as a performer or a stuntman.
I feel Wikipedia has let me down there. The thing is, I know very little about Carl Matthews, finding just limited information on Discogs I went on a bit of a hunt and found a soundcloud page (it wasn’t really a hunt, there was a link on Discogs but I’m trying to add some drama), where he describes himself as ‘An old guy who likes making sounds for Library/Production companies.’
Then I found this ‘Carl Matthews, a synthesist who started out in the late ’70’s producing
Cosmic (Space) Music in the style of the early composers of the German electronic scene.
Cassette tapes were produced and distributed by Mirage, Electronical Dreams
and the ICR label.’ Here, probably, is a picture of the mystery man himself:
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this picture.
So, essentially, the album I received is by somebody I’ve never heard of and can find only sketchy information about. That, I’m sure you’d agree, did not bode well for the LP I was about to put on my turntable. Here, as evidence, is said album on said turntable:
I played the album this evening when I arrived home, and my expectations were entirely wrong, it is absolutely brilliant and having listened twice now I cannot fathom why this isn’t massive, I like it that much. Imagine for a moment that Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were asked to get together and produce a soundtrack to a movie of a Philip K. Dick novel whose main theme is how our increasing reliance on technology is eroding our humanity. That, to me, is this album. It has the sweeping vistas of Tangerine Dream but also the intricacies of Kraftwerk and the repetitiveness of both (Note to reader: I love repetitiveness).
I have to make some assumptions but it would appear from the track information, pictured below, that these are reproduced from tapes recorded in the early 80’s and that they are very much influenced by kosmische musik (you can call it Krautrock if you really want to).
I just read the card that came with the album, I should probably done that first. The tracks were recorded on a Reel-To-Reel recorder using a Korg Polyphonic Ensemble, Korg M20 Synthesiser and a Korg SQ10 sequencer. I’m sure there are people out there who know this musician, but it is entirely new to me and, almost certainly, would be undiscovered had I not been sent it by Miguel at That Special Record, which is exactly why I have a subscription in the first place, this one is just perfect for me.
I’d like to put some here for you to listen to but I can’t find anything, so go buy a copy, although it appears to be a limited numbered edition of 444 copies.
Wait, there’s more, a Freund Der Familie 12″ single, ‘FDF Alpha Remixes #3’ that has been included as a surprise, and it certainly was. It’s a red marbled limited edition of 150 and, quite frankly, coloured vinyl is the way to my heart. It looks almost black on the turntable, but if you hold it up to the light it is quite a lovely oh, nice bit of artwork that you can see there that was tucked inside the sleeve as well.
Again, I’d never listened to anything by them but it’s a doubly nice surprise as I really like it, and really appreciate it’s inclusion. Below is a track from soundcloud so you can have a listen to one of their tracks should you fancy it, and there are loads more if you go here: https://soundcloud.com/freundderfamilie
And here it is held up to the light to show off that lovely red colour:
All in all I’m delighted with what I’ve received this month and am already looking forward to what is going to arrive next.