Matt Kivel is a Los-Angeles-based musician and singer-songwriter which we introduced different times. One year after Last Night in America, he’s back with a new album titled That Day, on the beach. He explains: “It is album of ambient / environmental music based on 28 years of living in los angeles, california.
These pieces reflect the feelings i had on specific days of my life, particularly between ages 10 and 17. as a child, adolescent and teen, i suffered through many periods of intense depression. these ‘blank spots’ in my life (as i’ve always thought of them) have been very difficult for me to talk about with other people. working with music only (and no lyrics) to communicate directly about these time periods has been a healing first step.
‘that day, on the beach’ is not full of morose music. in fact, quite the opposite. i want listeners who hear this music today to find joy, calm and even playfulness, in the pieces. this feels like the right approach to me — transfiguring these harrowing episodes in my life into something that can calm and uplift people.”
Check the full streaming below and read the track by track which explains the path of this new work.
wake up at 6. As a child, I never understood why we had to wake up so early for school. It was disorienting — being dropped into this fishbowl of judgement, personalities and pressure at such a vulnerable moment in the day. I wish it had been different.
A brighter summer day. As you can see from the title of this song (and this album) I am a huge Edward Yang fan. He is my favorite filmmaker and a brighter summer day is my favorite film and the most perfect film about childhood ever made. I composed this piece after going to watch a brighter summer day on the big screen at BAM. There was always an optimism and beauty in my childhood summers and this piece felt like it contained some of that.
Driving beneath the pico overpass. LA is a city of roads and overpasses and freeways. When you live there, you’re always reminded that you should be going somewhere or that you’re on the way somewhere, never that you’re home and where you should be. There was one overpass near McCabe’s Guitar store that sort of captured that sense of displacement. The feeling that I was in my hometown but definitely not home.
Long hot morning. Though santa monica is known for its beautiful weather, the summer months can be intensely hot. In summer camp, I remember the feeling of overexposure, of the sun just ripping through me, and this piece captures that.
Hotel bel aire. I always thought it was strange that bel air, one of the fanciest places in the city, was just hidden away off of some side road north of ucla. It felt like these super rich people had a secret passageway into another world, and now that I think about it, I guess they did. It’s a beautiful place where old film stars lived, but I don’t think I ever even went into a building in bel air until I was in my mid 20s. it’s its own world that you’re kindof not allowed to be a part of.
Samo. Samo was/is the nickname for santa monica high school, where I went between ages 14 and 17. as a young kid, I was very intimidated by samo, it was such a big place and there were always these hideous rumors surrounding it about murders and shootings and just very bleak things. I didn’t really enjoy my time there, but it’s more complicated than that.
St. monicas. St. monicas was a smaller private catholic high school that was a few miles from my high school. i didn’t really know any kids who went there, but in some ways, I idealized what I thought was going on there.
Why don’t you get your brother to say it?. My senior year of high school I had a very bad panic attack in class that lead to a three-month long bout with intense depression. That one moment of extreme fear and anxiety changed my life forever. In many ways, I am still working through the same feelings I had then and trying to understand them and understand myself.
Tower 23. Tower 23 (or some other number tower) was this area on the beach where some kids hung out after high school. I would go there on occasion, it was kind of incredible that you could walk to the beach after school, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t appreciate that beauty at the time.
Alex p. I think people mean different things to us at different times and some people stay frozen in time. There are many people who I remember as being just 8, or 14 or 17, and then … nothing else. They are young forever and in my mind that way.
Live forever. Oasis was my favorite band. They gave me something to dream about and lose myself in. they’re the reason I bought a guitar and learned how to play. And reading the NME, and listening to Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story helped me escape, at least mentally, in so many ways. It’s pretty cliched-sounding, but the Gallgher brothers really did that for me.
Sleeper. During particularly difficult depressive episodes in my childhood, the only thing I would look forward to was going to sleep. That’s it. Just being in bed was the only time I felt at peace.
There is a road crossed by. Again, la and it’s eternal, looped roads. I thought something that felt like them would be right for an album about la. The circuits in the city are always alive and seemingly never-ending.