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Matt Stevens

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Matt Stevens Lucid album cover
3.54 | 11 ratings | 4 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oxymoron
2. Flow
3. Unsettled
4. The Other Side
5. The Ascent
6. Coulrophobia
7. Lucid
8. KEA
9. Street and Circus
10. The Bridge
11. A Boy

Line-up / Musicians

Matt Stevens (Fierce and The Dead) / guitars
Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) / drums
Stuart Marshall (Fierce And The Dead) / drums
Lorenzo Feliciati (Naked Truth) / bass
Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld) / bass
Kev Feazey / bass
Jem Godfrey (Frost) / keyboards
Emmett Elvin (Chrome Hoof / Guapo) / keyboards
Chrissie Caulfield (Helicopter Quartet / Crippled Black Phoenix) / violin
Jon Hart / vibe
Nicholas Wyatt Duke (Trojan Horse) / spoken word

Releases information

Label: Esoteric Antenna
March 31, 2014

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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MATT STEVENS Lucid ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(64%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MATT STEVENS Lucid reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars What do you get when an excellent guitarist, in this case Matt Stevens of The Fierce & the Dead, makes a solo album? You guessed it! You get a guitar-based album. However, this isn't always a good thing. Many times, these solo albums are used as moments to show off or play the most ridiculous, finger-blistering guitar licks till there's blood on the floor. This isn't so with Matt Stevens' new solo album "Lucid". As I said, Matt Stevens is the guitarist of the rather eccentric instrumental band The Fierce & the Dead. He follows in the format of that band only in that "Lucid" is an instrumental affair. Indeed, Stevens seems to be an advocate of sorts for instrumental bands, and I think he's correct about the lack of focus on bands that choose to eliminate vocals. Anyways, what "Lucid" is lacking in vocals, it clearly makes up for with both sheer variety and unflinching focus.

"Lucid" is indeed an album that is on target, but somehow varied, too. From delicate guitar weaves to grinding experimental affairs to massive post-rock epics, this album really has it all. Yes, I think Stevens uses his solo career as a sort of little black book for his random thoughts. Much of the album is experimental in some way, and there are many different styles and kinds of guitars utilized. From quiet acoustic moments to atmospheric eccentricities, and from organic and warm melodies to harsh ambiances and incredible finger work, Stevens explores a vast range of methods to battle the fretboard.

He's not in this alone, however. Stevens is joined by quite a cast of guests, including Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and Stuart Marshall (The Fierce & the Dead) on the drums, Jem Godfrey (Frost*) on keys, and many others from around the progressive world. They play a vital part in bringing this album to life, especially the guest bassists that add a deep, throbbing texture behind Stevens' guitars. What we get, then, are highlights that add new dimensions to the guitarist fantasies, creating a more vivid whole. Make no mistake, though, as "Lucid" is certainly about guitars more than anything else.

Experimentation is always good in the musical world. Sometimes, though, bands forget to write actual songs that will interest listeners. I don't believe Stevens has neglected this important factor on this album. The individual tracks are generally very interesting, though there are definite standouts. My very favorite is "The Bridge", a twelve minute epic that soars up and down using post-rock devices and plenty of atmosphere. There are other favorites, though, such as the slightly off opener "Oxymoron", the delicately ethereal and chilling "Coulrophobia" (fear of clowns), and the slightly folksy "The Other Side". Most of the tracks are actually only a few minutes long, believe it or not, but the album doesn't suffer for it. Actually, the album feels like a roller coaster ride of guitar delights because of this.

It seems that solo albums are often ignored, but I feel that ignoring Matt Stevens' "Lucid" would be a mistake. It pushes boundaries, experiments freely, and even has the balls to sit back and just play a good ditty. It's an album with no fear of critics, nothing to prove, and unfettered curiosity. Stevens really has crafted a delightful album full of emotional highs and lows, technical prowess and restraint, and melodic genius. Be sure to hear this one!

Review by Matti
3 stars Here's a quick one amidst my recent business of writing for the upcoming issue of Colossus prog magazine.

This wide-spectred British guitarist was a new acquaintance for me, nor had I ever heard of his band The Fierce & the Dead. Lucid is the fourth album under his own name. Its instrumental music - one could label it as Post-Rock - with lots of angularity and distortion often brings the latter-day KING CRIMSON to my mind. Many tracks are actually a bit too restless for my ears, but there are some contemplative nuances too.

Especially 'Coulrophobia' has some fascinating sound painting. Most of the eleven tracks last under three minutes, but why stretch them if the message comes effectively through in a shorter form? An exception to this rule is 'The Bridge' which approaches 12 minutes in length. would have enjoyed to hear more of this kind of diving into the atmosphere. Lucid is a personal and interesting album for challenge-seeking art rock taste.

(Perhaps with less subjetive approach my rating could be four stars...)

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK artist Matt STEVENS launched his solo career back in 2008 with the album "Echo", and since then his DIY approach to establishing a career have seen him become quite the popular guy in progressive rock circles, even more so when he formed the band The Fierce & the Dead in 2010. His career in music is admirable, and he's also known as a genuinely nice guy to boot. "Lucid" is his fourth solo production, and was released in 2014 through UK label Esoteric Recordings.

While many of Stevens earlier solo albums have focuses solely or partially on his one man band style of acoustic based music enriched with samples and loops, this CD comes across as a firm step away from this past. The occasional acoustic numbers are still present, but by and large "Lucid" comes across as a production that merits a description as post-something I guess.

Wandering acoustic guitars with plucked light toned melody based guitar overlay are placed side by side with beefy, rich, distorted and dark guitar escapades with elegant, almost Frippian style hovering guitar solo details, more feisty, staccato riffs that may or may not point back to punk or early post punk have their place here too, gentle cosmic effects appear here and there, as do drones, nervous light toned guitar details of the kind that is a just about ever present feature in any post rock band you could name and even what sounds like a playful, Flamenco inspired theme or two. Ample variety in other words, and always with an emphasis on maintaining a good flow with logical but often unexpected twists, turns and developments.

Just about all the compositions are kept short and sweet, so that the ideas explored aren't exploited to the point of being tiresome or coming across as repetitive in a negative sense, and on the sole exception as far as length goes, the almost 12 minutes long The Bridge, Stevens transports us through a number of radically different sounding landscapes that ensures that the listener is able to maintain interest throughout.

Still, the most impressive piece of music for me is the title track Lucid. With a booming bass and solid rhythms creating a strong, hypnotic groove for Stevens adventurous guitar exploits, broken up by some unexpectedly effective intermissions, this is a highly compelling creation, perhaps not the most advanced nor the most adventurous, but a surefire choice for me if I would like to introduce a newcomer to the musical universe crafted by Matt.

If you enjoy instrumental progressive rock made with an adventurous spirit, Matt Steven's forth solo album "Lucid" merits a check, especially if you are the type of person that enjoys listening to a musician that explores a musical universe a bit outside of the most commonly visited grounds. A certain taste for music of the post-something variety may come in handy as well.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some years ago I was contacted by a true gifted UK guitarist, his name was Matt Stevens, a man that can make you fly and travel abroad with his acoustic guitar and with the electronic elements he uses. And though I enjoyed his music a lot, I must confess I did not listen to his albums very often, which is something I regret and that will not happen again. Having said this, I thank Matt for introducing me to his music and for the 2014 release entitled Lucid that I am reviewing right now.

Lucid is an 11-track album that has a 41-minute length. This time, Stevens has several guest musicians such as Pat Mastelotto from King Crimson, Jem Godfrey from Frost* or Stevens' bandmate Stuart Marshall from The Fierce and The Dead. Most of the songs are from 2 ' 4 minutes length, and one great epic that last over 11 minutes. Here, we will be delighted by a guitar-driven album, in which we will appreciate sounds from classical guitar, post-rock atmospheres, heavy moments and experimental passages. The album opens with 'Oxymoron' which is a heavy way to open the album, not like his previous solo works. This track has that nice combination of heavy rock and post rock. A great way to start Lucid!

'Flow' has the first let's-say-Crimsonesque moments, the guitar speaks from itself. It also has electronic drums and a repetitive but in moments hypnotizing mood. However, it is so short and then all of a sudden an explosion appears and we are already listening to 'Unsettled' in which that heavy post rock sound returns. I would not say it has a post-metal feeling, no, but it cannot stand in the lightest side of post-rock, mainly due to the distorted guitar and the bass. 'The Other Side' starts with acoustic guitar, I would say this is the typical Matt Stevens solo offering, I mean, with this track my mind totally goes back to Echo or Ghost, his first solo albums.

What I like of this album is that Stevens plays different styles from one song to another, so it is common to be listening to tender acoustic guitar in one hand, and immediately later been listening to a raw Crimsonian tune, such as The Ascent'. Here we can notice that he is not only a genius with acoustic guitar, no, he also knows how to make awesome and bombastic guitar solos. This track could perfectly fit in the KC Thrak album, go figure. But well, the next song 'Coulrophobia' is completely different. It is very calm, soft and atmospheric, one can close the eyes and feel relaxed here.

To be honest, that variety of sounds might be a double-edged knife, because you might think it does not have a defined sound; but on the other hand, you will welcome that vast offer of sounds that cannot be completely labelled. 'Lucid', the title track has a nice atmosphere that is easy to dig, with a sense of hope first, and then with distorted guitar it produces a raw sound. The acoustic moments return with 'K.E.A.', which works as a relaxer, I mean, here one take a deep breath and be prepared to the next song. Honestly, this is one of my least favorite tracks here. 'Street and Circus' is another of the typical Matt Stevens solo song.

'The Bridge' is the longest composition, the only one that reaches a two digit mark, with almost 12 minutes of nice music that is condensed in different passages. First it is rockier, but later it touches more the post rock fields and then they put more atmospheric nuances, in which the acoustic guitar makes us feel in another place, with a calm and beautiful sound. But then, all of a sudden drums and electric guitar appear again making a kind of alt rock / post rock sound. And the song simply flows with its different changes. The last track is 'A Boy', which is a nice solo acoustic guitar tune.

For those who don't know Matt Stevens' music, I invite you to do it, he has a lot to offer with his solo albums, and also with The Fierce and the Dead. Enjoy it!

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