Methodology is an important factor in music; involving delivery, appearance, style, and even sound as all what makes music tap into the emotional boundaries of a person. There are major factors and popular music that avoids the boxes of music, and adapts to their own mold in a rapidly changing way. Matt Johnson of The The is that visionary on his 1981 release, Burning Blue Soul.
Reissued in 1993, Matt Johnson would be the leading influence behind the direction, instrumentation, and vocalization on the experimental flood of Burning Blue Soul. There is not much direction behind it, but the messages that Johnson describes are layered behind the looping instrumentation and production that taps into several different lands before coming to a final stopping point.
The opening of the album, “Red Cinders In The Sand” is an entirely instrumental track that uses slight vocal sampling and remixing to form the backbone of the track. “Red Cinders In The Sand” acts as an introduction to the madness behind Johnson and moves him about in such a way that is focused on the atmosphere and the fog that rolls in beneath his feet. He is creative, able to manipulate, but ultimately a storyteller through these sounds and can range anywhere from a futuristic jungle, to the primitive and authentic. Especially with these large grasps on the timpani-esque drums that pound on the opening, illustrating a sense of foreboding danger behind the 1981 playground.
The impervious nature of lacking direction sets The The into a non-specific time zone that can incorporate organs, tambourines, guitars, blitzing percussion, drum loops, and hundreds of other factors into Burning Blue Soul. It is a musicians dream as the rhythm can still be followed without becoming a chore or work. It is not even close to simple though, as the constant layers that drive the album deeper and deeper are important and describe a scene. It paints this abstract mystic entity of sound that strikes through different chord progressions and sounds.
It is a tale of genre blending proportions that eliminates the struggle of creating a commercial sound, to instead gravitate toward a less understood stance. Burning Blue Soul moves like water and confides without any structure to enhance the almost droning sound that comes from Johnson. Without fail, The The comes shuffling in and distributes out through the airwaves in a soon, manipulated piece time and time again by sound.
The album also transitions incredibly well and each track rolls into the next with no dead air between them. The track fades out and incomes the next, it is a boosting power that comes from The The as the band, (which included only Matt Johnson at this time) and how it forms together.
Even if structure or form is not the most memorable thing for Burning Blue Soul. The production and style is what keeps The The stay interesting and engaging even more than thirty-five years later.