M. Gira / D. Matz, What We Did

Philip Sherburne

By Philip Sherburne

on 11.27.11 in Reviews
One of the quietest albums in Michael Gira’s catalog

One of the quietest albums in Michael Gira’s catalog, What We Did is a collaboration with Windsor for the Derby’s Dan Matz; the pair recorded the record at Matz’s home, in pieces, over the course of two years. It sounds like it; their acoustic guitars and voices are swathed in the natural reverb of wooden-floored living rooms, and the hushed quality of the recording gives the impression of songs recorded fleetingly at night, trying not to wake the neighbors. For once, Gira plays second fiddle, figuratively speaking — it’s Matz’s voice that tends to dominate, soft and wavering, with Gira’s cracked baritone trailing like a shadow. But you can certainly hear Gira’s fingerprints on the shape of the songs, which play skeletal chord progressions above stolid pedal tones. And for all their unplugged nakedness, there’s a wealth of sound – organ, piano, harmonica, banjo, toy percussion, even the occasional drum machine – hidden deep within its folds.