Matt Kivel's fourth album is a culmination of sorts — not only of his cross-country travels, but also of his solo project. While living in his Austin home, Matt put together a recording studio where he proceeded to write and record the music entirely by himself. The result is a record that refines the purest elements of his music: guitar, voice, ambient texture and minimal arrangements.
That stillness is captured and projected across the material, especially on the short-form, instrumental, and ambient pieces. Matt explains, “For about 17 years I’ve been writing songs with lyrics and music, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that if I do it right, I can write a piece of music that isn’t really a song at all, but still has the power to captivate and evoke a specific mood, message or time.” These pieces, like "under glass air" and "challenger" are minimal vignettes that suggest moments of relief — like sunlight breaking through clouds.
Seen from afar, last night in america is an easy, amiable listen. Seen from up close, it’s a subtle masterpiece in which every word, sound and silence is placed with a purpose. Occasionally, Matt’s plaintively beautiful arrangements can belie their emotional weight. "l.a. coliseum," for example, is patently pretty: a softly strolling, major-chord folk song. But lyrically, he reveals a quiet yearning story of platonic love, offering small maxims while watching the everyday violence of a boxing match.
last night in america was recorded by Matt Kivel, mixed by Jarvis Taveniere at Thump, and mastered by Andrew Maury. The album art features original watercolor paintings by Louise Sheldon and the art package was designed by Clare Byrne. The record also features visuals by Nekaa Lab / Sachiyo Takahashi.