Heinali and Matt Finney

People who write about music sometimes get into bad habits. One of those bad habits is succumbing to the pressures to label music. We feel some irresistible compulsion to place everything that we hear into genres and subgenres. There can be value in doing so, I suppose... perhaps it sometimes simplifies the process of communicating what we hear, to you, the loyal readers. But I don't think that's it; at least, that's not the whole story. The need to compartmentalize everything that we see, hear, read, consume and absorb is far too prevalent in our society for it to be simply about communication. Without going on for too long about this, I'll just say that I think it's a coping mechanism. We fear chaos, so if we organize everything very neatly and simply, we have less to fear, and we won't be consumed by the swirling vortex of disorder that seems to threaten our ability to make sense of the world around us.

Sometimes we just have to resist the urge, and that is what I'm attempting to do as I sit here writing about Heinali and Matt Finney. I admit I'm late to the party; it seems like all the other blogs were writing about these fellows months ago. I read the reviews, and knew that I'd probably enjoy the music immensely, but the time just wasn't right. When I received a CD of the Conjoined album in the mail just a few days ago, I felt the same way, but then I decided I may as well take the plunge and see what I've been missing.

 What I've been missing is some beautiful music. Matt Finney is an American poet who plays in the band Finneyerkes, and Heinali is a Ukranian composer. How they manage to get together and make music is a mystery, but apparently it matters not, as the music they have collaborated on defies categorization, and despite my urge to throw out some genre tags, I will resist. The music is relaxing yet heavy, beautiful and cathartic. I've not really heard anything like it, and the only comparison I can muster is perhaps Nadja, albeit only in some very rudimentary way. The atmospheres contained in this music are so deeply moving that it is at at the same time very hard to move while the sounds wash over and envelop you. Matt Finney's spoken-poetry vocals are delicate and entrancing, and compliment the music in a way that makes the end result absolutely irresistible. There is an element of melancholy here, but it's not so overwhelming; there indeed seems to be a sparkle of hope to be found somewhere in the dark and gloomy textures, if you're willing to confront them...

You may at first be tempted to let this play as background music, but I would strongly urge you to fight that temptation. I would hazard a guess that the only way to truly experience the music as it is intended is to let go of everything and dive in headfirst. You may start with their cover of Radiohead's "Creep," just to get your feet wet and familiarize yourself with what Heinali and Matt do, but once you've got the hang of things, immerse yourself in the thirty-minute opus Dreamcatcher (pictured above). It comes as one track, but honestly feels like it has several movements to pull you through.

What I'd recommend is visiting their Bandcamp page and checking out some of the music, and then contributing to the cause. Should we like them to continue to make such beautifully-crafted and wonderfully moving music, they will need our help. Buy their albums and individual tracks here, at their Bandcamp page, and order Conjoined from the always-wining Paradigms Recordings (which will soon release their new album...). And stay up to date on goings-on by visiting their Tumblr and Facebook pages.

[I hope to have an interview with these gentlemen coming soon. Stay tuned.]


maskofgojira said...

I've been lucky enough to interview Matt, really great guy, also very humble. Looking forward to seeing this.

Shawn said...

We're planning an awesome collaboration with these guys early next year. Matt's a great guy!