After hitting #1 on the Beatport charts for “Easy” and dealing with a stolen record fiasco, Mat Zo’s debut artist album, “Damage Control,” has finally been released on Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats. With 15 songs, the album takes listeners on a melodic journey through house, trance, funk, and everything in-between.
The first track of the album, “Superman Lost,” begins with a foggy, haunting introduction, which fades into a resonant, enchanting melody. Seductive, Eastern-style vocals tumble into relaxed electronic sounds that gain intensity, drawing the listener into the album.
“Only For You,” featuring Rachel K Collier, launches immediately into a fuzzy house track that slowly builds up until the vocals begin. Collier’s lush voice echoes around the tune, creating a hypnotic sound that leads the listener through the ebbs and flows of the ongoing beats.
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Everyone and their mother has probably heard “Easy” featuring Porter Robinson so I won’t go into too much detail. However, this track does bring up the energy level from the previous song, continuing the slow build of the album as a whole.
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“Caller ID” begins with Indian-style instrumentals, creating an exotic and sensual tone. A slow and deep bass undertone establishes a sexy mood, while various hip-hop samples break up the melodic trance of the music. As the song carries on, additional sounds are layered in, further increasing the complexity of the track.
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“Little Damage” begins with a lowly flute sound, soon to be joined by a drum kit. As the flute sound circles around the track, a funky melody joins in the party. Quick to build up and fade out, this song really acts as an intermission between two very different styled songs.
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Another previously released single, “Pyramid Scheme” featuring Chuck D, abruptly picks up the energy level of the album. With a strong build, the song breaks into fast-paced dance music punctuated by occasional voiceovers.
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“The Sky,” featuring the haunting vocals of Linnea Schossow, begins with slow and swirling instrumentals. After a minute of gradually gathering itself, the track builds into a heavy, upbeat trance melody. The reverberating beat seems to resound in your bones, further escalating the wave of emotions that one feels from this track.
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Just my luck, “Like It Used to Be” is my favorite sound on the album, and also measures in at a measly 1 minute long. The track is a brief moment of funky danceable tune to get the listener moving after the paralyzing beauty of the last song.
Without hestitation, “Time on Your Side,” featuring Janai launches into a tribal beat, which builds into another upbeat house track. More pop-inclined than most of the album, the track features motivational lyrics and a catchy melody. However, this is not to discount the song. Janai’s vocals beautifully complement the music, smoothly flowing over the instrumentals and bass.
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“Moderate Stimulation,” begins with an easy-going melody, with excerpts of “The Generation Gap” speech played over the song. True to the name, the song is pleasantly mellow and relaxing, rather than all about the build and drop.
From such a mellow song, “Lucid Dream” once again jumps back into a more fast-paced song. This song starts with repetitive vocals and a deep bass undertone. Suddenly, the atmosphere changes into a light, airy mood and begins to pick up into higher and higher notes. One of my favorite songs on the album, this track flips back and forth in musical styles with ease.
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“EZ” consists of a new approach to the previously mentioned “Easy.” The melody seems to float over the vocals, lending an ethereal quality to the familiar tune. After a build, it drops into a very spacey melody, featuring xylophone-like instrumentals. After a few minutes, it ventures into a completely different direction with lots of smooth bass. Completely different from “Easy,” it offers an incredibly refreshing look at the track that fans have been listening to for a year.
The beginning of Hurricane evokes an incredibly deep and resounding quality, building anticipation. Dissolving into smooth bass drops, Eyes That Lie’s voice contributes toward a dark, but beautiful tone before the heavy sounds are stripped, leaving the vocals to be the main attraction. As the song picks back up, various instrumentals repeatedly layer in and taper off until only light acoustic guitar riffs remain, slowly releasing the listener from the song.
“Fall Into Dreams” continues the guitar, with Pete Josef lending light, mellow vocals over the top of the track. His voice has a resonant quality, and it lends itself well to the airy barrage of sounds that signal the end of the track.
Finally, “Time Dilation” begins after an extended pause, launching into a dreamy, melodic track that lures you into a trance-like state with its slow build. Suddenly, resounding chords radiate through the song before launching into a fast-paced rhythm. As the speed picks up, the background of the song remains ethereal and calming, leading to a natural transition between the two states throughout the song. Evoking incredibly positive emotions, this is the perfect track to end the album.
Overall, the entire album feels like one extended song, building up to high energy before easing back down for a moment of quiet contemplation. Especially seeing as many of the songs transition smoothly into the next, this album is best listened to from start to finish. Purchase the album on iTunes.