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Noise Level / Press

“Dub Knowledge presents London sonic electrician Ed Matthews (knowingly or unknowingly) at a familiar crossroads for many artists: pursue the commercial/popular or follow the road less travelled? The record shows Matthews continuing to explore more sophisticated new territory with forays into dub-derived scenarios and sometimes foreboding ambient sound paintings. But this listener’s ears locked right onto the album’s third track, ‘Jetstreams,’ a truly beautiful marriage of wistful human voice and spaciously recorded electronic wash and its follow-up ‘Lift Me (The Story’s Been Told)’ that recalled the more sublime moments from early-period Zero 7. Both compositions are head and shoulders above their companions here and clearly indicate what could be done at the meeting point between the human heart and well deployed wave forms. Stay tuned. – Rod Nicholson > Performance: B+/Production: B+”

“This latest chapter in the Noise Level saga/musical journey finds London, Ontario sound-painter Ed Matthews taking himself and the listener on a whirlwind tour of some of the sonic images working their way through his creative consciousness. The album is aptly titled as he explores the interzone where ambient dub, electro and progressive dance music meets. The old saw about practice making perfect is in full effect here as anyone who’s been following Matthews’ progress will note that his compositional touch and way with rhythms are becoming increasingly sophisticated and emotionally involving. This ‘human touch’ element makes Soaked In Dub an enjoyable world-class listen on a purely entertainment level and a major step forward stylistically and creatively for Matthews and the Noise Level project. – Rod Nicholson Performance: A/Production: B+”

“London Free Press Top 10 Albums of the Year. No. 6. NOISE LEVEL - Body. Meanwhile back in the interstellar overdrive universe, Noise Level has turned the edge dial it up a notch or three. Crunchier, in a good way, than other Noise Level works — but it still has the tranquil going. Stop off at Cafe Flesh and then double back to Enforcers (Are Never Wrong). Just move however and wherever and whenever that pulse prods you.”

“At its nascence in 2004, Noise Level was conceived by its creator (London, ON native Ed Matthews) as an electronic ethno-ambient project. Over a handful of years and releases, Matthews has flirted with a variety of styles. On Body, his latest release, dub, reggae and techno are cross-pollinated with the likes of ambient, dubstep, drum & bass and even pop electronica. The resulting concoction is surprisingly clean and fresh sounding, perhaps because the entire album (save some reggae toasting) was arranged, performed, recorded and produced by Matthews. The songs that comprise Body generally fall into one of two categories: dancehall reggae infused with flourishes of drum & bass and dubstep, and techno/pop tunefulness imbued with a spirit of ambient drift. This makes for a somewhat disjointed listening experience for the album as a whole, but the briskness of the music more than makes up for a few unexpected shifts in genre.”

“Noise Level is the brainchild of London keyboardist Ed Matthews who began pumping out ambient/electronic sound projects in 2004. Noise Level's latest full-length disc, Body, features 11 original compositions created with the aid of a software program known as Ableton Live. It allows Matthews to record, remix, arrange, compose, and perform anything he hears in his head and what he hears makes for an interesting journey. Many of the tracks here are mellow and atmospheric with the sounds of piano, drums, synths, spoken word and reggae chants floating in and out the soundscape. Tracks like "Bam Bam!" would sound right at home at the dancehall, while others like the title track and "New Sensations" are best suited for layin' back and chillin' out.”

“On the evidence that "This Island Earth" presents, London's own electro/experimental/sound alchemist Ed Matthews might find his musical incarnation. Noise Level is at a career/artistic crossroads before too much longer. It may just be about time to bust of L-seven and take Noise Level to the next level because the Forest City may soon be turning into too small a pond for this rapidly evolving sonic fish. Matthews' work and inspiration on this new CD is a revelation as he takes things away from the sometimes confining cut and paste style of recordings past and makes each track more of an entity unto itself. The overall impression here is of a much more sophisticated beat-based sound and feel that needs to be heard worldwide.”

“Last month, Noise Level (aka Ed Matthews) released his new CD This Island Earth, the follow-up to his previous effort,Conceptual Continuity. This Island Earth features nine tracks, which range from dub, dubstep, drum & bass and Bollywood-styled reggae tracks. "Unlike previous efforts, which featured a wider range of electronic music styles, the attempt here is to focus on styles that compliment rather than contrast with one another," said Matthews. "All the instruments heard on this disc were created using a MIDI keyboard triggering soft synths loaded into my laptop. Primarily, I used software designed by the Berlin-based company Native Instruments."”

“What’s the meaning behind your name? Noise Level is a reference to the idea that music is simply organized noise: strumming, plucking, banging instruments that create musical sounds. It refers to the level of “noise” – however you wish to define it – that exists in music. As well, Noise Level music tends to feature electronic drones, or harmonic audio frames, but the idea of drones actually goes back to Gregorian chants and ancient music in general.”

“It's easy to discern growth across several fronts, especially in the areas of sound quality and production and the beautiful complexity many tracks exhibit.. Recommended.”

“Using found sounds and sampled voices, (Ed) Matthews manages to engage the listener both mentally and emotionally, taking things to a much deeper and simultaneously higher level than most artists working in this musical genre... Recommended.”

“(Noise Level) continues to grow both conceptually and sonically on this latest effort.. The mood of these compositions range from slinky and ominously insinuating grooves to unabashed nods to the basic notion that it's all about the beat... Recommended.”

“Liquid Sky's promo material asks, "what is music but organized noise?," and it is the thin divide between the two that sampler/keyboardist Ed Matthews and synth player Rick Walton explore as the duo behind Noise Level. The Liquid Sky unfolds as a collection of scene-setting, mostly ambient miniatures. Gaseous synths, low hums, obscure B-movie clips and the occasional beat barrage puncture cathedral atmospherics and mostly fluid sequences. Keeping the pace of a film score though, The Liquid Sky is bolder than background music and it plays out as a study in contrasts between stillness and controlled frenzy, expanding the liminal space between them.”