Born and raised Torontonian Dante Matas has known music would be a part of his life from the young age of eight. He formed his first band, Reality Control, in high school, and the group’s final album together came out early last year, while Matas is in the midst of embarking on a solo career.
The title of the final release, Pixelated Nonsense, seems in tune with the now-defunct band’s wispish identity. As Matas sings, “All I want is to destroy the world,” Reality Control seems to be built on fantasy and intangible ideas. While the opener feels like 60s psychedelic rock, follow up “Stray” is modern, bouncy and filled with keyboard riffs.
There is an over-arching rhythm to the album that’s full of energy and bouncing bass notes. But even as the songs hop and skip over fret boards and from robots to interiorisms, Matas’ languid vocals float above—at times removed from the musical chaos and at times part of it.
A listen to Matas’ solo EP from late 2012, More Lost Than You, reveals his inclination for slower songs and more pensive lyrics. The five songs are stripped down to Matas’ voice and an acoustic guitar. “We’ll Be Fine” tells a story over its folk music as Matas keeps time with his simplistic picking.
Titular “Pixelated Nonsense” is as far away from this as possible, with its explosion of an intro and Matas belting out the chorus over strong, steady drums. It’s the same throughout all nine songs, with Reality Control layering traditional instruments with synths, creating a sound you want to dance to in a smoky haze.
Matas promises his next album—the first of his official solo ventures—will blend together the sounds of Pixelated Nonsense and More Lost Than You. “Tenseless” might be the closest approximation of what that will sound like, with its slow, mesmerizing intro before it breaks out into a trance-like slow build of quiet, never-ceasing drums and Matas singing hypnotically over top. If that’s the case, Matas’ solo career will certainly be one to watch.
Top Tracks: “Pixelated Nonsense”; “Tenseless”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)