Tabs Out | Matthew D. Gantt – Diagnostics

Matthew D. Gantt – Diagnostics

5.21.20 by Ryan Masteller

“Patella I GM Expo” ends its 18 seconds at the beginning of Diagnostics with a cymbal crash, a digital exclamation point on the track that seems intended as a “ta-daa!” to the introduction, a curtain call at the beginning of the album instead of at the end of it. It doubles as an announcement, something along the lines of, “If you liked this teaser, you’re going to love what comes after it!” Matthew D. Gantt’s not wrong in feeling proud of his album, even after only 18 seconds. He proves over the rest of Diagnostics that he deserves a little applause already.

The “procession of nested MIDI architectures, clip art serialism, and hypothetical kinetic sculptures suspended in virtual space” spirals out from there, assuming that someone like me is smart enough to get it, that my brain has been sensitized enough to compute the details and get what the heck Gantt’s trying to accomplish here. Good thing I’m up to the challenge. While you may assume prior to listening that Diagnostics is going to be a clinical trek through exhaustive (and exhausting) experimentation, often at a deeply scientific level, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it is, instead, a diverse and, dare I say, inviting listening experience, in the most Orange Milk–y way possible. Sure it’s got the requisite digital mayhem, percussive hits and plosives ricocheting off in chaotic polyrhythms. But it’s also got heart, it’s got soul, which is something that’s intended to exist in a virtual realm should not necessarily have. Maybe the AI’s becoming self-aware?

Regardless, Gantt’s got an ear for off-kilter melodies (or maybe it’s his programs’ doing), thus removing cold, hard science from the equation. He’s able to produce and inhabit miniature sound-worlds, allowing imagination to soar through the landscapes. That he does this while at the intersection of experimentation and accessibility is no small feat, and proves that Gantt’s on the leading edge of technological sound art. Maybe that’s what happens when you work for Morton Subotnick as a studio assistant (as Gantt did from 2016 to 2018). It’s also me being extremely jealous.

Grip it and rip it from the source!

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