no label # Wake Up
Produced by Matthew Helm
Released on September 15, 2009
no chart information
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T he third release from KHAD (a/k/a Matthew Helm) is a dark, dark disc where the only colors come courtesy of spare guitars and keyboards, battered beats, wisps of melody and, in an unfortunate turns of events, Helm’s curdled voice. To say that he sings off key would be to imply that I know what key he was trying for, and I don’t. It’s a shame, and sinks what is otherwise an interesting (if bleak) vision of electronic & treated acoustic music that suggests the influence of Pink Floyd, NIN and Harold Budd. Apparently, this is a concept album about someone who (in a waking dreamstate) interrogates a lover for the death of their romance. You can almost hear the single electric light humming overhead in the interrogation room. The tracks are unrelenting in their intensity, complete with splattered-blood beats (“Enemy Mine”) and the dry harmonium hum of horror music (“Arma”). At the end, there’s no resolution, simply a return to sleep. Wake Up nearly works as a hypnotic song-cycle using dark dream images and would have benefited immensely from more variety. There are parts of “Burn,” “Heavy Eyes” and “Basis” that suggest a brighter, more colorful followup might be in the future. That future would presumably be entirely instrumental or feature a different vocalist. DIY albums are always dangerous undertakings, especially one as idiosyncratic and intense as this. Artists often need to exorcise personal demons and find their own voice (or, in this case, muffle it) before moving on to greater artistic expression. Wake Up is that exorcism, a dark journey wherein Matt Helm has mapped out some interesting ideas that might thrive in the ultraviolet world of his next creation.


  1. WAKE UP    3:03
  2. ENEMY MINE    4:01
  3. BASIS    3:55
  4. ARMA    2:49
  5. THE WITNESS    4:30
  6. BURN    5:31
  7. HEAVY EYES    10:32
  8. SLEEP    3:46

    All songs written by Matthew Helm


MATTHEW HELM -- instruments, programming, vocals, engineer, package design

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US September 15, 2009 private label CD no ID #  


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