The first lesson I learned through meditation was to acknowledge the world and its ambiance. Traffic survives through road construction and I attended class after my blob of a dog (finally) died. Life goes on. Initially, I attempted to find an isolated, amicably quiet location to listen to Slow Meadow’s eponymous album, but I gave up. My phone constantly chimed its synthetic bells like it was initiating a Friday night boxing match. Firetrucks lit the night sky with foretelling colors ‘en route to another fire alarm prank. Distractions are simply inescapable. But transcending distractions isn’t necessary for the Slow Meadow experience.
Slow Meadow (aka Matt Kidd) recognizes distractions without humoring them. While listening to A Farewell Sonata my thoughts rapidly cycled between, “Is that the THX Deep Note?” to “The low-end’s capacity is identical to Tom Krell’s work.” But Matt Kidd gently returned me to his aural landscape — a whitewashed room with regal square-footage but a humble host. For Slow Meadow’s first LP, he does an exceptional job at displaying his talent without oversaturating the album with intentionally “memorable” moments. Kidd created an experience, and it’s a remarkably balanced one.
The opening track Linen Garden, Pt. 1 features Marc Byrd under his Hammock pseudonym, a frequent collaborator of Kidd’s. The influences of Bryd’s post-rock signature is present throughout Slow Meadows, but not without its idiosyncrasies. Euphoric crescendos aren’t punctuating sentences as much as they’re interjected into them followed by an ellipses rather than an exclamation mark. Euphoria isn’t the intention driving Slow Meadows’ climactic moments. They’re road-signs that guide us. They’re page numbers in the header reminding us where we’re at because, frankly, the world is a distracting place. Technology envelopes us and responsibility gnaws at us. Slow Meadows wasn’t functionally created in a sanitized lab, isolated from humanity and our ambiance. It was created while observing life’s petty nuances.
When Kidd acknowledges humanity in the track Summer Vigil, it’s not an endearing voice that greets us: it’s a subdued monotonous exhalation, surrounded by awe-inspired strings. Distractions are inescapable, but bombastic conversations surrounding my Slow Meadow experience were simply that: monotonous exhalations — modest hums that weren’t about to remove me from Kidd’s coldly comfortable landscape. With a stoic construct, Kidd imparts listeners with wisdom rather than comfort. The ambience on Slow Meadows is frigid but knowing, and I never wanted to leave.
Once Slow Meadows concludes, we’re relegated back to the real world unimpeded. Unlike the conclusion of Mono & World’s End Girlfriend’s masterpiece, “Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain” we don’t have a new perspective on the world and its ambiance: we have a refined perspective.
Recommended If You Like: Hammock, How to Dress Well