Matt “MV” Valentine – “Before It’s Gone” b/w “Anji Variations”

Matt "MV" Valentine - "It's Gone" b/w "Anji Variations"

Matt “MV” Valentine – “It’s Gone” b/w “Anji Variations”

With a vast discography and a prolific release rate as 50% of amorphous long-serving post-folk duo MV & EE, it’s perhaps a wonder that Matt Valentine has still got the time and indeed the urge for solo recordings, given that his main centre of operations already has a pretty open and revolving door policy for guest collaborators and stylistic detours.  Yet, in reality his one-man billed wares are essentially just part of his broad body of work, whether Erika Elder (‘EE’ to his ‘MV’ of course) is involved or not.   Thus, this new solo-billed 7” for The Great Pop Supplement is yet another branch growing out from the MV & EE family tree.

Although featuring a similar roll-call of musicians as found on his still very recent Midden Mound LP (co-released by the Child Of Microtones label and Manchester’s Golden Lab Records), the A-side of this single has a lengthy gestation backstory, which can be traced as far back as an Icelandic-ash-cloud-enabled jam-session in 2010.  Cumulative recording sessions – as detailed in Valentine’s own sleeve note insert with the single – led to the involvement of Jeremy Earl (Woods), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Pete Nolan (Magik Markers), Marc Wolf (Tower Recordings) and regular MV & EE accomplice Mick Flower.

Matt "MV" Valentine - "It's Gone" b/w "Anji Variations" (vinyl unpacked)

Matt “MV” Valentine – “It’s Gone” b/w “Anji Variations” (vinyl unpacked)

Despite the convoluted construction process, “Before It’s Gone” is a likeably laidback and loose affair; replete with pastoral raga-rock lattices, hallucinogenic multi-tracked vocals and freewheeling electric guitar soloing.  The net effect is pretty damn close to what you’d expect from a bong-infused melding of MV & EE, Woods and solo Mascis shticks, so corresponding fans of all three will certainly want the track for their respective collections.

On the flipside, Valentine takes a seemingly more bona fide solo journey, with a comparatively stripped-back but still layer-meshed rendition on the wordless Davy Graham/Bert Jansch standard “Anji”.  Whilst Valentine certainly doesn’t usurp the better known versions from what must be two of his musical role-models, his beatific lysergic twist on the timeless hand-me-down tune, is no mere fan-boy B-side throwaway.

Ultimately, whilst this white-vinyl single doesn’t offer the world a radically different side to Matt Valentine, it should happily sustain and reward his most loyal completionist followers until his next solo or MV & EE release hits the presses.

The Great Pop Supplement