Debut disc from monster guitarist, Matte Henderson. Matte has worked with John Medeski, Screaming Headless Torsos, Henry Kaiser, Natalie Merchant and the late Mick Karn. One part electronica plus one part progressive post-rock, Matte mixes and stirs together an incredible team of players for “The Veneer of Logic”: uber-drummer Marco Minnemann, Tony Levin, David Torn, Pat Mastelotto, Trey Gunn, Mary Pastorius and Doctor Know of Bad Brains.
Matte Henderson with Marco Minnemann
The Veneer of Logic (CD+DVD)
"To Whom It May Concern: I am happy to recommend Matt Henderson to you. He is hard working, committed and has integrity." -- Robert Fripp
That quote from a recommendation letter from the King Crimson founder kicked off what has been an extraordinary 28-year career for guitarist, composer, high end guitar designer and raconteur Matte Henderson. The former Fripp student has recorded or performed with an incredible diversity of artists including John Medeski, Mick Karn, David Torn, Bill Dixon, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Trey Gunn, Henry Kaiser, Rodney Holmes, Screaming Headless Torsos, and Natalie Merchant. Henderson is also intriguing for the bands he chose not to be a part of, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Brand X. But those are stories for another time, and of course, interviews, should this pique your curiosity, dear media type.
Rather, we are gathered here today to celebrate the release of Henderson's first album, The Veneer of Logic, a collaborative effort with drummer Marco Minnemann, known for his work with Joe Satriani and Steven Wilson. Bad Brains co-founder/guitarist Doctor Know calls the album the world's first "muttcore" release, meaning it explores the universes of post-rock, industrial, metal, and ambient with equal aplomb.
Now, we assure you Henderson is an upstanding citizen, but we must inform you that while this is mostly an instrumental record, there are vocals. And those vocals were almost entirely derived from voicemails, surreptitiously recorded conversations, and prison parole hearings. When was the last time you heard a record with prison parole hearings? Right.
This is a wildly original album that will dazzle you, leave you breathless, and possibly result in delirium. But within these freewheeling compositions are the sonic blooms resulting from seeds earlier planted. "Several tracks are homages to my favorite guitarists," says Henderson. "'Myers Lane' is my bow to Exposure-era Fripp. 'Whirled' and 'ppgf' are nods to Bad Brains which saved me from a life of jazz-fusion treacle. 'Single Cell Shark' reflects my fascination with David Torn's boundary-breaking work. 'My Whirled' was written for the late Mick Karn, who was scheduled to work on it before his health crisis. As a tribute to him, I went with a Dali's Car vibe for that tune."
Minnemann's incredible, globally-renowned drumming is another highlight of the album. "Marco offers unparalleled discipline, focus, creativity, and sensitivity as a drummer and co-conspirator," says Henderson. "Those latter qualities are particularly important, because even though he has an exceptional amount of facility, he doesn't let it guide his musical decisions. He thinks compositionally and you hear that on this record. Together, we defined a meta-language that uniquely serves the needs of the music."
Accompanying the album is a bonus DVD of films Henderson created for every track. Surreal, psychedelic, hilarious, and frightening in equal parts, they offer an additional glimpse into Henderson's no-holds-barred creative impulse. "The videos were such a pleasure to create as they enabled me to tap into my deep background in the visual arts," says Henderson. "I was influenced by my friendships with Tom Sachs and Andrew Kromelow, who focus on reappropriation of cultural iconography as a means for social commentary. I also tapped into my love of '60s experimental film, including the work of Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, and Kenneth Anger for inspiration."
Henderson fought the good fight to bring you this record. Hard drive crashes, fickle record labels, and yes, management and publicity weenies all dared to try to step in between you and this disc. With steely resolve, he managed to get it into your hands right now. So, don't even think about tossing it on the pile with all that other bullshit people have sent you destined for Amazon Marketplace or Big Al's Record Barn. Put it in that goddamned CD player, iPad, iPod, Google brain-embed gizmo or whatever the hell else you use right now and find your next favorite thing.