Matt Kivel – “Janus” (Stereogum Premiere)

Matt Kivel’s music is soft. It’s soft and delicate and pure and real, the silky instrumentation starting out quietly before blossoming wonderfully. On his new track “Janus,” Kivel’s fragile vocals echo beautifully alongside folk guitars and soft bass. The Los Angeles-based Kivel started off playing in various bands for the better part of the 2000s, but only broke free to begin a solo musician in 2013; we previously posted his “Rainbow Trout“. The velvety smooth texture that “Janus” is bathed in comes as no surprise. The track was engineered by Sam Smith (not the one you’re thinking of) and produced by Drag City’s Alasdair Roberts at Green Door Studio in Glasgow. “Janus” is the title track from Kivel’s forthcoming third album, set for release early next year.

Kivel’s thoughts on the recording process:

“Before I went in to do the take, I stopped at a whisky bar next to the studio called The Ben Nevis at around 10 in the morning. I was feeling terrified. Thinking about how I was about to spend literally every dollar I had ever earned from music on this recording session. Thinking more about how I was planning to propose to my girlfriend in a few weeks, and thinking a lot about my grandfather, who had died the year before. I ordered a Talisker, drank it slowly, walked back to the studio, sat down in my corner, and proceeded to do three takes of Janus, from start to finish. I don’t think I opened my eyes the entire time. At the end of the third try, I looked at Alasdair and he appeared satisfied. We all got up and listened to the playback on the big speakers and it was really a thrilling feeling. The song seemed right. We hadn’t rehearsed any of the parts yet it was big, and deep, and matched the lyrics incredibly well in a way I could have never imagined.”

Listen below.

Tracklist:
01 “Janus”
02 “Violets”
03 “Pyrrha”
04 “Prime Meridian”
05 “No Return”
06 “Janice”
07 “Jamie’s”
08 “The Shining Path”
09 “Orpheus”
10 “Palm Beach”

Janus is out 2/5/16 on Driftless Recordings.

[Photo by Olivia Hemaratanatorn.]

Tags: Matt Kivel