Vagrant Views on Muz

Matt Castille (Muz) drumming up some Mardi Gras exultation.

Costa Mesa resident Matt Castille appeared in the Weekly's 2007 Best Of issue as Best Genius Hermit Musician. Over the weekend, Castille emerged from his lair to bestow upon me his latest sonic creation: eight tracks he recorded solo under the moniker Muz. My weekend became immeasurably more psychedelic during those 35 minutes.

All musicians always say that their newest batch of songs are their “best yet,” but often this exuberance is delusional. Before we put the CD-R in the player, Castille—who also plays in Vas Deferens Organization—observed that these new joints “may be the best thing I've ever done.” As someone who's heard nearly everything he's recorded, I believed that his statement would likely ring true.

We listened to the disc twice. I was thunderstruck by the rich, lurid panoply of brain-scrambling sounds parading across the stereo field. The man had kept this word. These new songs are more tightly composed than the two sprawling pieces on his debut LP (see my review from Alternative Press here) and more memorable and vividly detailed than his second Muz album, Banana in Portuguese.

I'm still trying to process everything going on here. I feel in the sober light of day that I am ill-equipped (i.e., my mind is not sufficiently altered) to do justice to the teeming brilliance on display. All attempts at categorizing dissolve into so much irrelevant semantics. This new Muz release is one of those heavy trips to which you're lucky if you can eke out the occasional “WOW” as it coats your neurons in gaudy rivulets of psychotropic goo. (This album is currently untitled and without a label. Will some idiosyncratic philanthropist/music-industry renegade please release it? Soon? Thanks.)

Influenced by Nurse with Wound's legendary recommendations list of progressive/psychedelic/krautrock/experimental/avant-garde artists, Castille is one of those musicians who absorbs tons of fantastic, rarefied albums and then reconstitutes the base elements of said albums to his own perverse designs (his Vas Deferens Organization band mate Eric Lumbleau is one of the world's foremost collectors; for proof, see his contributions to the invaluable blog Mutant Sounds) . If names like Art Zoyd, Intersystems, Et Cetera, Brave New World and Severed Heads mean nothing to you, don't worry: Muz will still floor you with his extravagantly exotic tone painting and creative (de)arrangements. The only problem is, after you listen to Muz, nearly everything else in the sound spectrum will seem unbearably pedestrian.

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