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Each Divine Spark

Never shy of a little hard work, Matt Howden – the finest violinist and melody looper in South Yorkshire – kicks off his 2014 with his eleventh recording album. Under his stage-name Sieben, Howden’s latest 12-track was recorded live in analogue at his favourite underground venue Club 60, bringing each track to life in a way which can be lost on a studio album. With several other projects absorbing much of his time, including recent venture RASP with cellist Jo Quail, the steadfast workaholic has assured friends and fans that his personal project and life-blood Sieben would never be left behind. The release of Each Divine Spark proves that Howden is truly a man of his word as this could well be his best music to date.

Opening track ‘Born from the Ashes’ immediately draws interest with a slow build of tension as the looping layers of delicate strings come to a passionate climax in the dying moments of the track, ready for a more haunting use of vocal looping to swoop in during track two, ‘She Is There’. The harmony of the backing vocals adds to the charm and theatrics of the song. A little further through the album the tempo picks up, with some stronger beats and catchy rhythms. ‘The National Anthem of Somewhere’ and ‘Jigsaw Chainsaw’ are both tracks that get you moving, whilst retaining the signature lingering essence of Sieben.

Another completely engrossing and absorbing record from this incredible artist. Matt manages to tell stories and produce a theatre from every aspect of every track. The raw and organic energy captured in the removal of over-editing is an admirable change of direction and I hope to see him continue in this vein. I highly recommend eyes are also kept peeled for the release of RASP’s live album in the not-too-distant future.

by Tasha Franek (she/her)