RELEASES

as a leader

Agreements_Cover

Dog Day Afternoon |

comp. Matthew Halpin

MATTHEW HALPIN GROUP

"Agreements" (2021)

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Kit Downes - hammond organ

Hanno Busch - electric guitar

Sergio Martinez - percussion

Sean Carpio - drums

Rebekka Salomea Ziegler - vocals

Laura Totenhagen - vocals

Veronika Morscher - vocals 

all compositions & lyrics by M. Halpin

recorded at Riverside Studios Cologne

engineered by Julian David

mixed & mastered by Oliver Bergner

supported by SRF & Generations Festival

to be released in spring 2021 on Frutex Tracks

artwork by Janet Cruise Halpin

TRACK LIST

"Agreements"

01. To-Do Today, To-Do Dismay (04:22)

02. Dancing With The Devil (05:34)

03. Dog Day Afternoon (03:44)

04. The Beach (04:47)

05. Swings and Roundabouts (05:31)

06. Sit Up and Shut Down (00:43)

07. Awkward Handshakes (03:18)

08. Pop Fiction (04:58)

09. Treetown (02:50)

10. Sigh For Sam (04:35)

11. Sleep (05:07)

Personal note on the music

from pianist and composer Christian Li

"Matthew Halpin plays a burnished antique saxophone and hauls cords of wood by hand at his family’s fixer-upper castle in the Irish countryside.  He once rode across the entire United States alone on the back of a motorcycle.  He spends an inordinate amount of time writing and recording joke songs, which he plays for unwitting friends after a few rounds of drinks.  He doesn’t post about any of those things on social media.  Those of us closest to Matthew have long been fortunate enough to have our lives ornamented, and occasionally walloped, by this 21st century hobgoblin.  I am pleased to inform you, dear listener, that you now have the chance to see what all the fuss is about.  

 

I am going to be honest with you.  I am a recovering musician, having been thoroughly demoralized by the formalist rigmarole of music education and the inscrutable artifice of image culture.  I have not been able to bring myself to sit down and listen to so-called “jazz” (to use the critic’s term) for over a year now.  Occasionally, I’ll catch a faint whisper of Lester Young or Bill Evans somewhere off in the distance and find myself practically in tears, reminded of the singular potential for beauty latent in the 0’00” of every record I’ve ever loved.  But mostly I avoid it.

 

When I put on Matthew’s record, I felt like a kid again, lying on the floor of my parents’ living room, dreading the moment when a song would end and practically begging for the sound to stretch on into eternity.  Matthew and his crew of musicians - Kit Downes on organ, Hanno Busch on guitar, Sean Carpio on drums,  and Sergio Martinez on percussion - contain multitudes.  They expand and contract. They maneuver hairpin turns, impossibly.  They interact with biotic, kaleidoscopic intricacy.  It’s thrilling.

 

The result is a captivating glimpse into Halpin’s vertiginous inner life.  On “Dancing with the Devil,” Downes’s organ shrieks above the fray as the band builds into an orgiastic, Hieronymus Bosch-like frenzy.  On “To Do,” the same organ soaks a retrofuturist fugue state with planar surfaces and hallucinatory colors.  Martinez and Carpio propel “The Beach” forward with a groove that is both relentless and weightless, dotted with the scintillating light that reflects off the water on a perfect summer day.  In “Treetown,” Halpin and Busch remind me of the Brooklyn mockingbirds that have learned to imitate car alarms - the natural struggling to adapt to the material.  This piece recedes into R. Murray Shafer’s jungle, silent in the wake of destruction.  

 

Perhaps most breathtaking is the album’s final track, “Sleep,” which features singers Veronika Morscher, Laura Totenhagen, and Rebekka Salomea Ziegler.  They sing a prayer masquerading as a lullaby:

 

Sleep beloved.

May your sleep be sound and

Silence all the world’s alarms.

Time, unwound.

Time, unwound.

The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,

For the foul winds blow.

Everything outside us is wind and snow.

 

Around them, the band spins a diaphanous, ghostly fabric of nocturnal sounds - muffled footsteps, an analog clock, a draft that sneaks through a crack in the window and billows the curtains, the Cagean sound-silence of dark space.  Yes, everything outside us is wind and snow.  Thank you Matthew for giving me somewhere safe to rest my weary soul.  It’s a place I never want to leave."

as a co-leader

LAST CHANCE DANCE 

"Last Chance Dance"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

David Helm - double bass

Fabian Arends - drums

released in 2016

THE OWL ONES 

"Shadow Loves the Sun"

Veronika Morscher - voice

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Pablo Held - piano

Kit Downes - piano

released in 2015

CHRISTIAN LI

MATTHEW HALPIN

FALSE IDOLS

CHRISTIAN LI | MATTHEW HALPIN

"False Idols"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Christian Li - piano

to be released in 2021

as a sideman

Hendrika-Entzian-Marble.jpg

HENDRIKA ENTZIAN +

"Marble"

Hendrika Entzian big band

released in 2020

soulcrane + halpin cover.jpg

SOULCRANE + MATTHEW HALPIN 

"Another Step We Take"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Matthias Schwengler - trumpet

Reza Askari - bass

Philipp Brämswig - guitar

released in 2020

Jakob-Helling-Concert-Big-Band-Live-in-2

JAKOB HELLING CONCERT BIGBAND 

"Live in 2019"

Jakob Helling big band

released in 2020

Jonathan Hofmeister cover.jpg

JONATHAN HOFMEISTER 

"emotions"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Bastian Stein - trumpet

David Helm - bass

Fabian Arends - guitar

released in 2019

STAX

"Stax"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Bertram Burkert - guitar

Reza Askari - bass

Maximilian Stadtfeld - guitar

released in 2019

riaz-khabirpour-pocket-radio.jpg

RIAZ KHABIRPOUR 

"Pocket Radio"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Riaz Khabirpour - guitar

Matthias Nowak - bass

Leif Berger - drums

released in 2017

HENDRIKA ENTZIAN QUARTETT 

"Pivot"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Simon Seidl - piano

Hendrika Entzian - double bass

Fabian Arends - drums

released in 2017

OLIVER LUTZ QUINTETT 

"Poolparty"

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Vitaliy Zotolov - electric guitar

Simon Seidl - piano

Oliver Lutz - double bass

Oliver Rehmann - drums

released in 2016

MIKE BONO GROUP

"From Where You Are"

Mike Bono - guitar

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Naseem Alatrash - cello

Christian Li - piano

Jared Henderson - double bass

Roberto Giaquinto - drums

released in 2013

TAYLOR WINN

"I Should Care"

Taylor Ann Winn - vocals

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Grant Richards - piano

Tommy Holladay - guitar

Aaron Liao - double bass

Anthony  Fung - drums

released in 2014

VERONIKA MORSCHER

"My Heart On A String"

Veronika Morscher - voice

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Mike Bono - guitar

Christian Li - piano

Jared Henderson - double bass

Roberto Giaquinto - drums

Sergio Martinez - percussion

Anna Talpe - background vocals

released in 2014

CHRISTIAN LI GROUP

"Love's Last Lullaby"

Christian Li - piano

Matthew Halpin - saxophone

Alex Hargreaves - violin

John Egizi - trombone

Mike Bono - guitar

Christian Li - piano

Naseem Alatrash - cello

Jared Henderson - double bass

Zach Brown - double bass

Roberto Giaquinto - drums

Isaac Haselkorn - drums

Sergio Martinez - percussion

Anna Talpe, Veronika Morscher, Erin Bentlage - vocals

released in 2013