Review: Heinali + Matt Finney – Ain’t No Night

Ain’t No Night is the fourth album collaboration between two artists working within typically introverted fields. For this release, Ukraine’s Heinali crafts what would most likely fall under the “doomgaze” scene: equal parts lush ambience and ultra-fizzed guitar distortion, all trundling at a wearily slow tempo. America’s Matt Finney is a spoken word artist, whose barely shaped mutterings sound like the sort of under-breath streams of thought that occur during a lapse in the brain’s mind-to-mouth censor. The “remote collaboration” format is undoubtedly a strength of this one: both artists are able to carry the contributions of the other into their own introspective worlds in order to expand on them, without ever extending out of their respective creative cocoons.

Nadja are a definite reference point for those enveloping layers of heavy guitar, while the distortion-tinged drum samples feel reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Treasure release, providing a pounding rhythmic emphasis that firmly anchors the free flow of the other instrumentation. Piano harmonies make a welcome appearance during the album’s long stretches of desolate quiet, as Ain’t No Night gently ripples in expectation of the wall-of-sound’s resurgence.

Finney’s poetry can sometimes feel an awkward presence in amongst all of this – he mumbles over the album’s passages of downtime, over-crowding those all important patches of breathing space, during which the dip in volume brings a sense of perspective to the looming towers of noise that came before. But his highpoint (and perhaps the highpoint of Ain’t No Night as a whole) comes during the twang of blues during the title track – the empty clunk of choked strings sways beneath clean guitar solo, as Finney lets his mind pass out various snatches of thought – fluently, then erratically – one croaked sentence at a time. No doubt this won’t be the last collaboration between these two, and there’s something inconclusive about the sombre, piano-driven closing track that leaves it open ended; as if this is just a status report of Heinali and Matt Finney’s ever-growing, ever-changing collaborative relationship. Recommended.