Matus to Release Intronauta Jan. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Even when Peruvian heavy psych/rock outfit Matus are playing it relatively straightforward, as they are on the new song ‘Catalina’ below and as they more or less did on their last record, 2015’s Claroscuro (review here), it’s never really safe to predict where they might go next. The Lima-based outfit have this underlying appreciation for the strange. That theremin is always lurking, but even more than that, their songwriting has been prone to any number of odd turns over the course of their time together, so while I dig “Catalina,” I’m not really thinking of it as a stand-in for everything the album will have to say.

Oh yeah, the album. Would probably be good to mention that. It’s called Intronauta, presumably in no relation to the band Intronaut, and will be released Jan. 13, 2017, through the band’s Bandcamp. No confirmation of a physical pressing yet, but they’re apparently talking about it. As I recall, there was some question as to whether Claroscuro would be their final outing, so I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the situation is around this follow-up.

Art, info and audio:

matus intronauta

MATUS announces the release of Intronauta

Hot on the heels of Claroscuro in late 2015, Peruvian collective MATUS (formerly known as DON JUAN MATUS) announces the release of Intronauta, an EP with 5 new tracks revisiting one more time a wide range of styles. The band, running a 10 year career and 7 releases/reissues in Perú, Germany, U.S.A. and Japan, will enter an indefinite hiatus after the release of this record.

Intronauta will be available via Bandcamp starting January 13, 2017. A physical format is being discussed at the moment.

The first single off Intronauta, a hard rocking number by the name of Catalina was just uploaded to the band’s SoundCloud page.

Matus is a musical collective formed in December 2005 as Don Juan Matus.

The band have released 5 albums and 2 split singles on various labels from Perú, Germany, Japan and the United States.

Matus is:
Manuel Garfias
Richard Nossar
Alex Rojas
Walo Andreo Carrillo

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Matus, Claroscuro: Beyond Light and Shade

Posted in Reviews on January 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

matus claroscuro

Prior to its late-2015 release, there was some question as to whether the full-length Claroscuro would be the final offering from Lima, Peru-based classic heavy rock experimentalists Matus. The five-piece — currently operating with the lineup of guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Richard Nossar, vocalist Alex Rojas, vocalist/guitarist/bassist/thereminist Veronik, bassist/guitarist Manuel Garfias (also El Hijo de la Aurora) and drummer Walo Andreo Carrillo — had been dealing with geography issues between Peru and Australia, where somebody moved, and I’m not sure how or if those issues were resolved, but Claroscuro was released regardless via Espíritus Inmundos with Rainbow-style cover art from Marcos Coifman (Reino Ermitaño) as the follow-up to the 2013 semi-album, Espejismos (review here) and 2010’s Más Allá del Sol Poniente (review here).

Continuing the band’s progression within eerie and subtly complex rock with eight tracks/28 minutes of new material for a quick but resonant long-player, it is rife with rhythmic fluidity and engaging melody on songs like closer “Hada Morgana” and the swing-into-drum-solo of “Rompecorazones” and “Jenízaro.” Flourishes of organ, flute, percussion and layers of acousti and electric guitar emphasize a classic progressive feel, and Rojas‘ vocals play to that excellently across many of the tracks, though as ever with Matus — formerly known as Don Juan Matus — personnel and function tends to vary throughout. Matus are no strangers to changing up their approach, and Claroscuro does so almost immediately with a considerable shift in production sound between opening salvo “Umbral” and “Niebla de Neón” and the subsequent “Mío es el Mañana.”

“Umbral” serves as the album’s intro, with artful theremin — that is, more than just noise — providing a lead line over an Iommic riff and a rolling groove that emerges in “Niebla de Neón” over one of the record’s many rich basslines. That theremin returns at the end, after the song has crashed and cymbal-washed out to a closing line of acoustic guitar and transitions into “Mío es el Mañana,” which is rawer in its guitar tone, more upfront in keyboards and has more blown-out vocals atop compressed-sounding drums, like all of a sudden Claroscuro became a NWOBHM demo from 1976. That’s not a complaint, just a notable shift.


At six minutes, “Mío es el Mañana” is the longest cut included, and it holds its form throughout, once again built on a foundation of bass that disappears to the piano, synth, acoustic and percussion of “Firmamento,” a let’s-do-the-complete-opposite-thing-now swap of South American pastoralia. Three songs in and Matus have presented three different looks, the last of them a complete departure from any sort of sonic heft in favor of an easy-flowing pop-singer vibe that, if you were listening to the CD passively, you might have to blink once it’s over and go back to be sure of what you just heard. Go figure that after a gong hit Matus launch into the Spiritual Beggars-style classic heavy rock of “Rompecorazones” en route to Carrillo‘s percussive excursion in “Jenízaro.” If you’re looking for it to make linear sense, you’re listening wrong. The best thing to do with Matus is to just let them carry you across these changes, because even when they refuse to build a bridge from one aesthetic to the next, they’re persistently able to make it work one way or another.

A sense of ’80s metallurgy resumes with the 90-second “Paisajes del Futuro,” which quickly rolls out a doomy atmosphere amid overlaid whoas like an intro to something much more grandiose before fading and giving way to the acoustic/cymbal wash intro to “Crisálida,” on which Veronik takes the lead vocal position for answer the non-lyricized vocals of “Paisajes del Futuro” in kind but in much different, more melodic, less fist-pumping context, the two-and-a-half-minute course remaining quiet but tense all the while, because honestly, who the hell knows what’s coming next.

Matus make good on the promise for weird with “Bizarro Cabaret,” which recalls some of the Alice Cooper Band-style strut on Espejismos, but keeps Veronik at the fore for interweaving layers of scat given further jazzy context thanks to guest trumpet from Bruno Rosazza and the underlying bassline that seems to feed right into the opening crash of “Hada Morgana,” another two-plus-minute push of progressive heavy rock swing that’s here and gone in a flash, turned in a completely different direction from “Bizarro Cabaret” before it, but unquestionably pulled off by Matus, who apparently don’t need any longer than 28 minutes to effectively offer more breadth than most bands could on records twice as long.

To call Claroscuro quirky would cheapen its ultimate range, and while its title refers to contrasts of light and dark, the truth is that Matus don’t even make it as simple throughout these eight tracks as pitting one side against another. Instead, they gracefully set a multitude of elements in motion and then skillfully direct the listener along a guided path between and through them. If this really is their final album — and somehow I doubt it will be; creativity like this doesn’t just stop — then it’s a bigger loss than most will realize.

Matus, Claroscuro (2015)

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

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Matus Announce Claroscuro for April Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


It’s an emotional rollercoaster of an update from Peruvian (also apparently Australian) collective Matus. The outfit — also formerly known as Don Juan Matus — will release their new album, Claroscuro, on CD via Espíritus Inmundos with vinyl potentially to follow, and that’s great, sign me up. But there’s also the part about how it’s potentially their final outing, and that’s more than a little bit of a bummer. Based in Lima and headed by guitarist, etc.-ist Richard Nossar, they got their start a decade ago and have been pursuing adventurous heaviness ever since.

The last Don Juan Matus release was 2013’s Espejismos (review here), which was recorded over a number of years, so to find out that Claroscuro took most of one to put together isn’t really a surprise, I guess it’s just a downer to see a cool project maybe coming to an end. Hopefully Nossar and company decide to keep rolling after this fifth record and there are more to come, and that Matus keeps going,

Time will tell, ultimately. Or another update from the band. Either way, here’s the latest on Claroscuro from the PR wire:

matus claroscuro maybe

MATUS – Claroscuro CD release

Espíritus Inmundos is proud to announce the exclusive, worldwide CD release of Peruvian collective MATUS (formerly known as DON JUAN MATUS) fifth album, Claroscuro (Chiaroscuro).

Recorded on almost a year span and featuring new drummer Walo Andreo Carrillo of Christian Van Lacke & La Fauna fame, Claroscuro could be the band’s swan song.

Release Date: April 2015.

Matus is a musical collective formed in December 2005.

The band has released 4 albums and 2 split singles in a 7 year span on various labels from Perú, Germany, Japan and the United States.

Their music combine elements of late 60s psychedelia, early 70s heavy rock, folk, blues, ambient, to name a few.

Matus, “Umbral – Niebla De Neón”

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Don Juan Matus, Más Allá del Sol Poniente: Trip Beyond the Setting Sun

Posted in Reviews on December 9th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

While my only prior exposure to Peruvian collective Don Juan Matus was their 2008 self-titled debut, their third album, Más Allá del Sol Poniente (Espíritus Inmundos) finds the five-piece a much more eclectic, genre-bending outfit. Lineup turmoil and artistic growth alike are to blame, but whatever did it, their sound has matured into dark textures of classic adult prog, with glimpses of the raw stoner sound they came from, but a more engrossing take overall on it. The eight tracks that comprise Más Allá del Sol Poniente’s 35-minute runtime span a wide sonic array, and although each seems to have a personality and drama all its own, there remains a flow to the album that’s essential to its ultimate success.

The way intro “Bajo la Sombra del Arbol de la Vida y La Muerte” bleeds into the riffier, classically plodding “Kadath/Más Allá del Sol Poniente,” for example, is just one of Don Juan Matus’ resident smooth transitions, going from piano and guest synth from Carlos Torres Fuentes to Alfonso Vargas’ crashing drums and what might be Más Allá del Sol Poniente’s most accomplished vocal performance from singer Alex Rojas. The semi-title-track also represents the more guitar-led side of Don Juan Matus, which doesn’t come out on every track, but when it does, comes out cleanly, the guitar work of Richard Nossar (who also produced the album and contributes synth and vocals), Manuel Garfias (also bass) and/or Veronik (also flute, theremin and vocals) sounding big enough to make an impression but not so large as to leave no room for the more experimental side of the band to come out on other tracks, such as the bass-driven instrumental space psych synth of “Ectoplasma,” which follows immediately. At just over two minutes, “Ectoplasma” is more of a transitional moment, a kind of warning to listeners that anything could happen on Más Allá del Sol Poniente, and in that it’s effective, since instead of a turn toward the weird, it leads into the riff-heaviest cut on the record, “Mundo Alterno.”

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