Release Date: Feb 5, 2013
Record label: Not Not Fun
UmbertoConfrontations[Not Not Fun; 2013]By Josh Becker; February 18, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetI'll cut to the chase here: if you've enjoyed Matt Hill's previous work as Umberto, then you'll like Confrontations, his latest album for Not Not Fun. If, on the other hand, you've tired of his imagined-soundtrack atmospheres, then this will just seem like a rehash of an already-rehashed sound. The production value is slightly cleaner this time around, a little less dusty-box-of-70s-horror-movie-VHS-tapes and a little more I-like-playing-with-synths-and-minor-chords.
Kansas City musician Matt Hill, who returns to Not Not Fun for the release of this fourth album under his Umberto alias, is still searching for a suitably blood-soaked visual counterpart to his glossy electronic work. Hill's music takes the form of imaginary soundtracks to films that only exist in his mind, primarily inspired by lurid 1970s horror features of wildly varying quality. Last time we heard from him was on the 2012 Rock Action release Night Has a Thousand Screams, an album inspired by a slice n' dice flick from 1982 titled Pieces.
In many ways, instrumental records have greater scope for creativity without the necessity of lyrics clambering for attention. Rather, the focus can be the subtleties of composition. Often, these records require more space to express themselves and it’s as if once the vocal is removed, other communicative instincts begin to elevate themselves. One thing is for sure, the instrumental record must do more than an ordinary, or ‘pop’, record.
Matt Hill’s work as Umberto carves out its own niche with a blood-dripping machete, echoing soundtracks to Suspiria and John Carpenter films. Last year’s Night Has A Thousand Screams was literally written as a score to an ’80s Spanish horror flick. His new disc, Confrontations, is more body-snatcher than horror slasher, the anxious fear more related to peering at the glowing horizon than over the shoulder at the murderer chasing you through the woods.