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The wind whispers through the curtains on a clear and starry night, you sit in your chair with a bottle of fine red wine next to you. As you idly toy with the stem of your glass, Matt Howden uncorks his latest and lets it permeate the silent ether. Your lips draw up into a wry and knowing smirk. Once again, Mr. Howden does what so many others fail at: he orchestrates the emotional response of his listeners with a faultless ease. Effortlessly he casts his deft spell of violin, bass, effects, piano, strings and even the occasional drum pattern over the surroundings. It's a rare gift, indeed, to do what Howden does. He is able to capture feelings with his equipment and his arrangements border on the superlatively divine. I do so enjoy these sorts of albums as they aren't designed to garner attention nor are they composed with any particular audience in mind. This is a film score, by the way, hence the title. From the clip I saw, it appears to be a celebration of robotics the world over. How appropriate that such a high-tech feature be given a musical backing which is definitively from an earlier time, from a much less advanced world. This combination of apparent opposites towards a positive end is one hell of goal to aspire to but this isn't a typical slice of movie music. There aren't any guest appearances from celebrated vocalists, the vast arsenal of artistic ability takes center stage. Don't crowd, the lights will go down soon enough. Each piece is given the designation of "RW", but the commonality ends there. The only thread which connects them is the violin which Matt plays with an utterly confidant, powerful grace. I had the rare opportunity to see this fellow perform live back in 2000 and the prowess he possessed then has only become more potent with time, check out his solo works if you feel up to it:"Intimate and Obstinate" and "Hellfires" will make your jaw drop and his last long player "Voyager" was a bold, exploratory vision of staggering dimensions. He's done a conceptual book/cd with his father Keith entitled "The Matter of Britain", inspired by the Arthurian legends which could only be categorically labelled astonishing. Ah yes, he also operates under the name of Sieben, the most high profile of his projects and he's done many albums with Sol Invictus' Tony Wakeford; back to this new work, though. It most definitely is music to get lost in, just as his website states. Lie back and drift, breathe in the heady compositions, forget yourself for a while. In the lingering twilight even more is revealed, violet hues and azure skies melt into cold, majestic silken tones of infinitely dividing fractals. For as many times as I play this record, I can't place where I've heard this kind of material before. The number of film scores I own is rather high and I've followed Howden for over a decade now but yet again he's managed to show another side to his work. It's not like what he's done on his own or with anyone else before; carried on the shoulders of precision and perfection, perhaps that should be his next album title. Only he can make his wooden muse produce the sounds it does and as I've said, I've seen him play it. The look on his face then I'd wager is the same one he had whilst making this: giddily smiling and completely focused on the task at hand. 'Robot World' isn't something you find often, it functions as both a testament to the movie and yet another glittering jewel in the discography of a man who does what he does because no one else can and that's all the explanation you get. His interests are varied, his music unquestionably unique... don't pass this one up, it is an unflinchingly daring masterpiece. Peter Marks 9/10 28 Apr 2011 www.matthowden.com RR007

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