Having spent the last few years as a curator for R.E.A.L. Collaboration and working with names like Juñor, Sonic Vibes and Belove, Melbourne’s Matthew Craig has stepped up today and released his own debut single, which Howl & Echoes are proud to premiere, the silky smooth Ivory.
Over smoky jazz lounge production, a lilting piano medley and a slow-burning saxophone, Craig melds rhymes and melody with aplomb on Ivory. He entrances the listener from the outset with softly murmured bars before letting his impressive singing voice guide the chorus alongside a mournful clarinet. The beat thumps harder over a powerful final chorus, every little element put into its construction meeting as one.
His lyrics are intelligent, introspective and deep while maintaining an air of swagger throughout. He wonders a lot about his family, pondering the feelings of his mother and the future of his daughter, lamenting “toking on the cannabis/I don’t know how my nanna is” and then switching it up just a couple of lines later as he “moonwalk across the globe like Mike”. It’s the same tight line stars like Drake and Childish Gambino have made huge careers out of walking and here Craig navigates it remarkably well.
Ivory might represent Matthew Craig’s first recorded debut but he also has an impressive live resume to back it up, having supported the likes of T-Pain, Watsky, Remi, Nico Ghost, Bootleg Rascal and Lyall Moloney, amongst stacks of others.
Ivory’s official launch is at The Worker’s Club in his hometown Melbourne on July 21st but you can catch Matthew Craig live before then in a number of ways. He’ll be resuming his regular DJ duties for Juñor on his Free.Mined Tour through Canberra and Sydney this week and he’ll be stepping out solo at Manly’s BRKLYN this Saturday.
Ivory as a whole sonically resembles late night delirium-induced stream of conscious, the kind that sets in after a lot of hard work and not a lot of sleep and it’s evident from both Craig’s extensive resume and his own admissions on Ivory that he’s been doing exactly that. The result is a debut that’s polished, professional, evocative and an exciting sign of things to come for Matthew Craig.