It’s been a while, in more than one way. Five years in fact, since his last album, now Matt Harding is back with and will release his fifth album ‘motifs’ next February 24th. It follows his previous records which were released on the Moshi Moshi, Heavenly and his own Reluctancy label, and features thirteen songs of stripped back cinematic beauty.
But it’s also a new leaf for Harding in the live setting as well, with plans to play live including tracks from Motifs. Previously he’s only ever sung other people’s songs live, never his own, after taking tentative steps into music through using a 4track in his early twenties, and going on to play rudimentary gigs with his spoken-word poet flatmate. But still an early fear of performing dogged him. As he says ‘my sets were always acoustic solo and comprised of material not from my albums, a song that i used to play regularly was called ‘reluctancy’, that is what i’ve named my own label for self releases now. they were pretty intimate and nervy, for me at least…
Born in Northampton but now relocated to London, Harding has been involved with many projects alongside his albums. These include remixing Au Revoir Simone‘s Night Majestic, featuring on the soundtrack of Mexican actor Gabriel Garcia Bernal’s first film I’m with Lucy, writing tracks for video artist Jordan Bedding and a film score for a Catalan documentary about author Josep de Sagarra.
But this is all about Harding, and he has previewed a track ‘Subsong’ from the album. It’s a shuffling, undulating piece of gentle and organic electronica, which nods towards indie folk. Ideas flit, sometimes expanding, sometimes almost ambient, with Harding’s understated, almost whispered vocals over the top, joined by other voices to sound like some kind of otherworldly Motown melody. It’s almost shy in its unsure delivery, but maybe that’s part of its beauty.
Certainly, things look good for Motifs, and Matt Harding.