Spectral Records is an American spin-off label from Ghostly International Records who are dedicated to bringing true tech-house music to the world by showcasing artists like Matthew Dear, James Cotton, and Osbourne. The release of Matthew Dear's "Leave Luck to Heaven" shows the versatility of the label bringing forth a techno-flavored version of house music that is not too hard, but just hard enough. Matthew Dear is a perfect act for this label. His brand of minimalist house infused with techno is pleasing and funky.
Matthew's full length artist album begins with his "Nervous Laughter (intro)." It has the sound of harpsichord and sound like it came from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Next up is the track "Fex," an intriguing song which has minimal drum patterns in it with a freaky low-level vocal. Though you can't make out what the vocal says it is a nice compliment to the song. "Just Us Now" gives off more of a breakbeat sound with
somewhat more of a full-vocal chorus. The vocals are once again distorted to where you can't make them out but it is still cool. Some snare and accordion loops fill in the blanks to round out this track. Next up is "The Crush." It is a lighter track than the previous with some synth riffs that bounce around and are fun. It is darkened up by some organ sounds but overall is much lighter. "But For You" reminds me of a cross between a video game and a Sander Kleinenberg track. The vocals are a little easier to make out on this song and it flows very nicely. Matthew steps it up a bit with "Dog Days." It has a funky bassline and a killer ride cymbal. It is more of a dance song than some of the others. It borders on a French house tune, but retains its distinct techno sound. Reversing it up is the track "Reason and Responsibility." The backwards bass is way cool and it has some synth strokes that sound like they are from a Casio keyboard. It is not cheesy at all. It also has a very deep, dark loop that builds up the track nicely. Keeping with the house sound is "You're Fucking Crazy." It has definite feel of a house
song but you can hear the Matthew Dear touches throughout. The song is hard but it has soft touches that make the song feel almost like ambient or chilled-out house. Nearing the end of the disc is "It's Over Now." This aptly-named song has much more energy than some of the others on the disc. The soulful vocals and scratchy beats come together nicely and is the highlight of the CD for sure. He filters some of the effects and they take on a life of there own. Although it is not technically the end it is a great way to end an artist CD, his "Machette" outro sounds like sweeping across an old FM radio or maybe even a transmission from space. Maybe this music is more intelligent than was to be believed.
Any fan of techno and house should check out this disc and see what happens when Americans get busy experimenting with unique sounds. Definitely be on the lookout for good things to come from