Dusted Reviews

Beef Terminal - The Isolationist

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Beef Terminal

Album: The Isolationist

Label: Noise Factory

Review date: Mar. 10, 2004

Mike Matheson retreats to his basement each autumn as Beef Terminal, determined to exorcise the more angst driven and shadowy realms of his emotions by committing them to tape. The Isolationist is Matheson’s third such effort, combining the low-fi analogue charm of his debut 20GOTO10 with the crisp production values of The Grey Knowledge, resulting in his most balanced and emotional work yet.

True to Beef Terminal form, the record is comprised of overdubbed guitar work, this time forming more elaborate melodies as opposed to basic chords and notes. Musically, Matheson has matured and grown more confident in his production decisions. He uses the accidental static from his amps for a backing track on “Your Revolution” and the hums and tics of a dryer on “Nervosa.” Whereas drum machine backing often comes off as mechanical and rigid, these found sounds give his songs a more organic feel.

In addition to overdubbed guitars, Beef Terminal’s signature use of field recordings play a substantial role, such as analogue cell phone ether pirated from the air, excerpts from Christian sermon radio broadcasts with quotes from the Bible (used ironically) and voices caught on tape unawares. Nowhere is this more exemplified than on “Passing Secrets Through the Window” which opens with an inebriated person rambling about old movies and ends with the Bible, the unbeknownst monologue saturated in ambient guitar and gentle synthesizer sweeps.

The Isolationist is dedicated to Matheson’s mother, who passed away during the recording. Knowing this, between all the rhythm tracks and brooding atmospherics, The Isolationist exudes introspection, as if Matheson is navigating a sea of painful, unresolved feelings. He finds calmer waters in “A Month of Endings,” the track specifically penned in his mother’s memory and one of the happier tunes here; a eulogy of vast, echo-ridden percussion and inspirational guitar.

Beef Terminal’s material goes straight for the gut and the fact that Matheson can successfully transmit his emotions through his instruments and production is no small accomplishment. His overwhelming pessimism does not lend itself to a communal setting; rather the CD instills the desire to be alone, wandering the streets late at night, Discman in hand and shunning all human contact.

By I Khider

Other Reviews of Beef Terminal

The Grey Knowledge

Read More

View all articles by I Khider

Find out more about Noise Factory

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.