Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on a journey inward for more than a decade. The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now, nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight-song-movement. Don’t miss 1st Matisyahu’s solo show in the Czech Republic – September 18 Lucerna Music Bar.
Tickets for 690 CZK + fees available from Friday June 2 at Lucerna Music Bar box office (without fees), Lucerna Music Bar website, GoOut.cz, Ticketpro, Ticketportal. At doors 790 CZK.
The band features longtime guitarist Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio’s bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino, and keyboard virtuoso BigYuki — and the journey starts with them. The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric. Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record unto itself. Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own — a lyrical narrative that is simultaneously informed and integrated with the music yet driven by Matisyahu’s own personal journey. The result is Undercurrent, Matisyahu’s sixth studio album.
The record is musically Matisyahu’s most courageous release to date and lyrically his most vulnerable.
The courage in the music comes from trust. Trust in the band. And only in the band. There are no post-production bells and whistles, excessive overdub distractions, or litany of special guests on Undercurrent. On the opening track, “Step Out into the Light” the band lays out a repetitive minimalist verse section that anchors the listener in a near meditative loop only to open up into a gorgeous set of chord changes that makes the chorus feel revelatory, as if the listener has earned this release, and can achieve the song-title’s call to action.