The baritone voice has a certain feel — employed by both the louche and the doom-obsessed (see Jim Morrison; see Morrissey). IDM artist Matthew Dear falls somewhere in the middle and, more often than not, his sexual invitations sound much like monotone warnings. On "You Put a Smell on Me," from 2010's Black City, Dear kindly offers you a ride in his big black car, but then he mentions his big black gun. It's like the scene before a murder in a horror flick, but the violence never comes and the party goes on. On Beams, his new record, Dear plays "roles" in his songs, some of them based on himself, some of them not. He explains the idea on "Earthforms," saying "It's all right to be someone else sometimes." His disjointed identities extend to the many hats he wears: producer, engineer, songwriter, vocalist, co-founder ot two labels. Dear helped Ghostly International find its legs and oversaw the birth of Spectral Sound, G.I.'s dancehall spin-off. Together, they are two of the most important record companies in electronic music today. Dear's greatest strength is his minimalism, his so-called "micro-house," proof that less truly is more. Dear's subtle layering and precise builds rival James Murphy, evoking Joy Division as much as Flying Lotus, making him one helluva listen and a great trailblazer.
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