- Last we saw the Spaniard John Talabot it was 2009 and we were wrapping our heads around a little Afro-kraut dance floor bomb called "Sunshine." While "Matilda's Dream" may not have the same nuclear grade as its predecessor, it still packs enough of a wallop that Permanent Vacation should be scolded for not slapping this release with a Blast Zone warning.
The title track offers up more housed-up jungle rhythms along with an equally joyful and mysterious atmosphere. The shifting melodic core that made "Sunshine" such a crossover hit has been supplanted here by layered samples, including wordless cries and gorgeous minor-key piano trills. While the heavy primitive percussion action here seems to so heavily call out to Africa, one wonders whether the name "Matilda" doesn't mean we're also in the Australian outback, communing with ghost animals and telepathic natives.
Wherever Maltida's from, she's clearly a country girl, and her charms are those of the wild unknown. This is all the more evident when Monsieur Renault takes her to the big city on his remix. Together Jacques and Maltida barter some tribal heirlooms for a handful of pills. Juiced in the club, she dreams again. Many of the elements return, piano trills and ghostly voices, but their colors take a different hue when cast in neon light, spinning fast and frenetic, their energies caught up in the bounds of an urban dance floor.
B-sider "La Ninya" is a close relative of "Matilda"—with their dreamy landscapes and echoey forests of hand drums, they surely feel birthed of the same womb. Cock a closer ear, though, and you'll hear how the track relies less on buoyant percussion and more on atmosphere, exploring the spectral expanses of dub mixing. Haunting flamenco-ish guitar dissipate into reverb pools and voices getting sucked across the sky by some powerful vacuum. It's more tripped out than we've seen Talabot go, but gets there by relying on his strengths: Track flow and tribal jubilance.
A1 Matilda's Dream
A2 La Ninya (Afrodub Version)
B1 Matilda's Dream (Jacques Renault Mix)