Held together by a “unifying theme of love” inspired by his recent marriage and the birth of his first child, Matthewdavid’s second album, In My World, sees the Los Angeles producer abandon the “one long broken jam” approach of his 2011 debut, Outmind, and instead venture into the hipster movement known as PBR&B.
Clocking in at just over the half-hour mark, one of the most succinct releases on Flying Lotus’ famously noodling Brainfeeder label still contains its fair share of wonderful weirdness, whether it’s the squeaky high-pitched synths and brief bursts of Squarepusher-esque drum n’ bass that interrupt the freakbeat of “West Coast Jungle Juke,” or the creepy pitch-shifted come-ons that make “Next To You Always” sounds like an R. Kelly bedroom ballad has got stuck in slow motion.
But In My World has a much stronger melodic streak than its abstract predecessor, which allows Matthewdavid to showcase his credentials as a neo-soul crooner as well as an abstract beatmaker and rapper. On the opening title track, he impressively adopts all three roles as he shifts from fast-paced rhymes to silky-smooth harmonies over a dreamlike blend of nostalgic piano hooks and woozy hip-hop rhythms.
Elsewhere, “Perpetual Moon Moods” is a typically hazy reworking of Mary Jane Girls’ 80s soul classic “All Night Long” which sounds like it’s been recorded in a studio submerged underwater. The sci-fi soul of “The Mood Is Right” continues to push Matthewdavid into the same emotionally-charged R&B territory as How To Dress Well, The Weekend, et al. And “Birds In Flight” is a gorgeous New Age-tinged collaboration with The Light Of Love Children’s Choir which brings the album to a suitably woozy close.
A tentative move towards the fringes of the mainstream which impressively doesn’t sacrifice Matthewdavid’s eccentricities, In My World is an all-too-brief but highly enjoyable insight into the mind of a true maverick.