Matthew Sage is a composer, producer, label owner, and publisher based in Chicago, IL.
Recorded over a summer in a tiny room on the second floor of a 120-year-old apartment in Chicago, ‘Catch a Blessing’ is the result of and the meditation on the exquisite exhaust and lavish lushness of his crumbling (and rebuilt) locales.
Presented as a collection of ornately expressionistic portraits of Chicago, Sage approached the album more as paintings or sculptures than musical compositions. Album opener “Avondale primer Gray” unfurls a calm but vibrant quasi-melody that dissolves into a blur of found sonic objects both familiar unknown. “Lions to Baffle” is a semi-synthetic symphony of muted, sax-laden alien jazz, while “Elevator Straffing” maintains a whirling, glittering hum of echoed dissonance. “Claiming Air Rights” could be the literal sound of a piano floating through space, levitating despite an impossible weight. “Michigan Turquoise” brings an exquisitely eerie hymn with the same ghastly grace of Sparklehorse. Album centerpiece “Window Unit +Three Flat” is an open-ended epic of texture and ambiguity, immediately followed by the warped and trickling elegance of “Polish Triangle”. “Wolfe Point Fog” closes ‘Catch a Blessing’ with peculiar focus, departing with an open-ended and wholly optimistic focus.
The moods and modes are constantly, entirely at odds with themselves: private vs. public, abject vs. profound, rural vs. urban(e), and so on. Where other players of experimental studio music take a more high-minded, often stuffy approach, Catch a Blessing floats in airier, more refreshing modes. It’s endlessly lush but sincerely marked by decay. This is naturalism in the truest sense.