Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our dear listeners will find it no surprise to hear us admit we are absolutely horrible, completely and totally awful, self promoters.  And therefore marketers of our music. We have no aspirations of making it big. We just like to create, and we love the energy and honesty of playing for friends and strangers.

So, we apologize for lack of excessive posts, for close to no tweets, and and overall social media absence. We are not the cool kids in the music scene. But do know we love you. We love to play for you. We love to hear your stories. We are so thankful for your support this year, and hope your holidays have been filled with whatever makes you happiest.

We were honored this month to be on City Weekly's list of top local albums of 2012, alongside some truly fantastic people.

And here's a little song we got together and wrote in association with the kickstarter project.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

change of status

Things have been happening. And updating this here blog has not been one of those things.  Most most importantly, Jordan decided to take the plunge and wed himself to the girl of his dreamy dreams, Miss (now mrs.) Carlie McCall Romer. 

They celebrated said decision in a barn filled with hay and friends and love and apples (and, of course, music).

With wedding plans and events, Eric working full time and doing graduate school full time,  Luke's desert music sculpting, and an increasingly mobile and vocal one year old, we've had to say no to invites for shows and have instead spent any scrap of time where we can all get together working on the remaining covers for our oh so wonderful kickstarter backers. 

January and February will see us on the road and at home, performing in Spring City, a Mandarin Pedagogy conference in , and a delightful music series at a church on 9th and 9th to name a few.

Hope things are well with you and yours. Thanks, as always, for listening!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Video one! The Sichuan Project album! Released!


We had a fantastic time at the CD/video release/Mid-Autumn Festival celebration Monday night. Thank you to all for coming and being such a wonderful audience.  Here is the first in the series of videos we're putting out. If you're in the mood for a little China in your day, this should do the trick.

Thank you thankyou thank You, as always, for all the support we feel. We are grateful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CD release!

I know the last post also ended with an exclamation mark, but we are just as excited about this announcement as the coming of Autumn.

CD release show:  September 24th, Rose Wagner Theater (downtown SLC) at 7pm 

We will be playing the songs from the new album  as well as showing the first of the short films. We are happy to share the stage that night with two other Chinese performers as part of the Confucius Institute's Chinese Culture Week.

Also. Here's a sneak peek at the album itself.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Delicious Autumn!

Hope you are all well.

Things here are in motion. And at conclusions. And beginnings.

School has started, cherry harvest ended, peach begun. Cooler nights received with open windows and long talks on the grass.  The e.p. is being printed, the videos are wrapping up (both set to release this month).  It has been a summer [post-China] full of concert series, recording vocals, painting Tshirts, chasing a now running baby, mixing and mastering, and loving the beautiful place we all get to live and make music.

We are all really happy with the way both the new recordings and the videos have turned out.  Man we're excited to share them with you! CD release show dates are being finalized, but tentatively the last week of September. We'll let you know.

Here's a great article out in SLUG this month on our trip to China.

We're also this month's featured artist on KCPW's Sounds From the Lounge. A new video will be posted each week of this month, all shot one afternoon in late August in the warm ( AC turned off, real sweaty and cozy) sunny member's lounge.

Thank you as always for your enthusiasm and ears:) We have loved meeting new and old friends each time we play.

'Sweet Sweeping Joy' by Matteo from Sounds From The Lounge on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

So, we were on RadioWest the other day.


and had fabulous time. Here's a video Benjamin shot of one of the songs we played during the interview.

Please note Luke trying (unsuccessfully ) not to smile and Jordan looking straight at the camera.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

7 fotos

There we were, laying in bed miles and weeks away from Sichuan, scrolling through pictures of Anna on Eric's phone. Yes, she was asleep in the next room  and  yes, we'd already spent the whole day with her. But sometimes we still like to look at these little captured slices and smile. And then we came across these leftovers.

Here, you can have a look.

This first one is the box that Luke's Chinese phone came in. After an afternoon searching through shop after shop for a cheap cell phone option--which we had just learned we'd need if we wanted internet the month in the dorms-- we came across this lovely choice in a white-tiled room. It's large buttons and obviously non-smart-phone-ness called out to us, and even after the saleswoman repeatedly tried to convince us we really didn't want to buy this phone, claiming it was a specially designed phone for the elderly, we, well, bought it. Obviously.

Then bought some cherries from a wooden cart, sat down in front of the administrative building on campus,  removed the phone from it's fancy red bag, and started pushing  those geriatric friendly buttons.

Bundles of power lines on the pedestrian overpass. Safe? Perhaps. Oh, China.

But let us say here we are beyond excited for the footage about to be shared with the world from this adventure. This little snapshot was from an afternoon early on in the road trip where we all wide-eyed at the view asked the driver to pull over.  We just so happened to have stopped off at a mini green heaven, complete with famers silhouetted in their paddies, women carrying massive baskets on their backs full of grain and children, and water buffalos hiding in sheds. The rural accent made it difficult for us to understand their Mandarin, but they didn't seem to mind and we listened to long paragraphs on the dirt road. 

First short film due out in late August.

Tibetan BBQ. We still do not know how this man touched, nay, gripped securely and pulled open, these grates over the open flame. A memorable dinner and a delightful family.

The somehow simultaneously charming and formidable Tibetan building style.

And that was it.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The crash.

Those few seconds before we hit, the ones outside of time where my eyes would not shut and my arms held my baby, play over and over in my head. Wet road. Gray rain. Swerving back and forth uncontrollably across both lanes. Motion so strange it seemed almost humorous. A wheel caught, we spun completely around, and we're thrown sideways off the road into wet rock dirt.

I can remember holding Anna and trying to form a bubble around her as we hit. Then it was dark. We heard glass shatter and the two of us lay pinned under a pile of luggage on the ceiling of the van, rain dripping on and through its exposed belly and side. I couldn't move my arms except to pull her closer. "Get this off of her!" again and again into the backpack pressed against my face. 

Light appeared as Eric and Luke began pulling luggage and instruments off us. I felt her moving and myself praying. She started to scream. I ran hands over her head, trying to assess damage. More praying. 

Moments earlier the van had been filled with laughter-- all of us almost giddy at the beauty we were surrounded with, our recent basketball game with monks, and Matt's getting the wind knocked out of him on account of slipping on Yak poop. Our driver literally had to tell us to calm down for fear we'd pass out in the thin air. We were so high up, so far away from even the Chinese things that had begun to feel familiar. We really knew only that we were a dot on the miles of rotting road between one larger Tibetan city and a few tiny mountain villages.

The minutes and emotions that filled the van just after we hit were nothing short of sacred. 

We understood this much:
-Death had come and we somehow got away.
-The rain wasn't about to stop.
-Mia was bleeding. She couldn't move.
-We were in the most remote place we'd ever been on this earth.
-Night would be here soon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming Home: Mountain Songs

As I ate outside on this cool, dry, smoky SLC morning -- home again, drinking orange juice, wildfires in the south -- I realized that for a trip in which our main focus was music, we certainly haven't posted much for you to listen to.

We're not quite done with all the recording of our new EP (recorded almost entirely in China is going to have to do, unfortunately, hope you don't want your money back), so we can't show you any of the new songs just yet. But, as a wanderer in a new place, my most invaluable piece of archival equipment (usually my sketchbook) turned out to be my little field recorder this time around. So I'm going to tell you about a town in Western Sichuan called Moxi, and I'm going to involve your ears a bit.

Field Recordings from China - Playground in Moxi by Matteomusic

Moxi sits at the base of Gongga, a huge, glacier-cut mountain with warm springs and sharp, snowy peaks. We never saw anything but its rolling foothills, due to the fog and the outrageous price of a gondola ticket, but we felt its presence -- coming up from the huge hydrological basin that Chengdu and its surrounding farmland sit in, Moxi's steeper hills and thinner air felt like home to us Rocky Mountain folk. 

We also felt Moxi's significance as a cultural gateway -- a town just inside the rich, fluid middle segment of the Venn Diagram that plots Sichuan with Tibet. As with most borderlands, the political, cultural, and ethnic boundaries are asynchronous and unreconcilable in Western Sichuan. Women wear dark robes, and have red lengths of cloth braided through their hair, which they wear in circles around their heads. Tibetan kids stare at us and push each other, and their screams and laughter sound identical to the afternoon noise of the playground we lived next to in Chengdu. 

But Moxi also has an old stone Catholic monastery, repurposed as a historical museum for relics and stories from the Long March. And the red-braid women and the push-scream kids are accompanied down cobblestone streets by old, weathered Han Chinese men in grey canvas wrappings or brown leather jackets (the differences between Han and Tibetan are already indistinct, made muddier in the spectrum of faces here). And it isn't until you've left Moxi that you start to see prayer flags whipping from roadside fences, though you can find here all the same pastel colors: around the windows, or lining wicker baskets full of nonsense, or on the pipes that the jacket men are smoking. Unlike the villages and towns we would see farther west, there are no great embossed gold rolling prayer drums on the streets of Moxi. But they sell small brass twirling ones in every trinket shop. 

And, on a cool, dry morning, eating fresh bread with yak butter, we hear mountain songs. A group of Tibetan teenagers and twenty-somethings, in sweatpants and camisoles. We find them scattered in a stone courtyard, and after some coaxing and nervous laughter, they sing for us. First a stoic girl who looked over her left shoulder at the last turn of each throat-catching (for her and us) melodic phrase.

Field Recordings from China - Tibetan Mountain Song (Coming Home) by Matteomusic

And then this smiling, reluctant, recently-woken kid in the yellow shirt, who clenched his fists and rocked back and forth and pointed his face into the sun, throat open, singing upward at GongGa.

Field Recordings from China - Tibetan Mountain Song (The Biggest Lama) by Matteomusic


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

this last week or so

a few from Brinn's camera. More soon from the others....
Morning market that appears every morning along this street then disappears as the sun gets hot.

China does not win the prize for cleanest country in the world. But even it’s dirty looks kinda cool.

the kindergarten on campus. Now those are some wiggly kids.

No need for gargoyles with this guy on your fence.

These little treats come with a plastic glove to eat them with. When we asked why, the shop owner looked at us with genuine confusion “Well your hand would get sticky!”. I'm not sure what jordan is thinking in this picture.

We love the fruit. we love the fruit. oh, how we love the fruit.
Anna Banana



138 postcards

Matt is not a tramp. But Julie sure is a lady.

The 14 passenger van that would take us to places and drive us along roads that made us literally gasp (for many reasons) and oooh around every turn. You simply cannot go to the places we were able to see by train or bus or tour. We loved making our own route and stopping whenever we pleased.

We ended up staying in this amazing little house in a village by a lake, where they made dinner for us completely from things grown in their own fields and garden. Eric and Jordan had a discussion late late into the night with this man about everything from communism under Mao to the use of chopsticks.

Luke and Jordan listening to field recordings. One more amazing thing about this trip is that with Luke’s field recorder, we’ve been able to capture some incredible sounds from out journey which will also be incorporated in to the music we’re making

Matt at work

When we woke in the morning, a small crowd was gathered at their usual spot on small benches on the side of the road. They offered us plastic stools to join them, so we did. Again, if you ever want to get invited to do things in China, bring along a baby.

babies. Anna's foot was fascinating.


Things grow here. Every inch is garden.

We were all in awe of the gorgeous river flowing far down below us. So we told Xiao Wang (driver) to pull on over and we jumped off the cliffs.

Cathedral in the mountain village where Mao stayed for a while during the long march.

portrait of the young mao

this is what stores look like

Tibetan restaurant/room we had a delicious lunch in in a mountain town called Moxi. Matt was pretty excited about filming this beautiful woman making incredible food in her corner kitchen by the window. She asked to see what he filmed. And seemed to approve

Anna's always loved foggy mountain passes

i'm the king of the world. or I'm about to sneeze

hostel  we stayed at in Kangding, western sichuan. Not a garage

Each mountain had these at the summit. We were literally in the clouds.

oh look! A yak!

A little pick up game of b ball with some Tibetan Lamas (monks in training) 

We loved the buildings-- thick stone walls and colorful windows. Wondering how one would look in SLC were Eric and I to build our own.

Tibetan store selling goblets. First thing I thought was Gringotts.

The men of MATTEO now all have matching tailored mandarin collared shirts. Bad pictures. But good news.