A couple of years ago I left my listening chair and went on a rare musical field trip to see Slow Meadow and Hotel Neon play an intimate show at the now defunct Union Arts Center in Washington, DC. It all seems a bit surreal now. For one thing, I rarely make it to live shows, let alone ones featuring artists I write about, and, for another, the property that once hosted the eclectic venue is now undergoing major redevelopment. So, by and large, the experience only lives on in my memory as a pleasant dream. One of the sharper recollections, however, was the unexpected pleasure of meeting the affable and talented Mattson Ogg, aka Dura, who opened the proceedings by filling the room with some captivating and heady soundscapes crafted from looping ambient guitar. Since then he has put out a number of releases each one taking its listeners on similar thoughtful and abstract journeys.
His latest album finds him on a slightly different tack, however. Whereas most Dura albums feature lengthy tracks that patiently unfold and burrow into the subconscious, Repetition Suppression is a more direct and laconic affair, an ambling narrative featuring lots of clean guitar lines coursing through warm crackling amps, deftly accompanied by the pings and sighs from cymbal work contributed by guest musician Matthew Daher.
The album was recorded during a period of transition and readjustment which found Mattson moving back to his hometown. Woven into the music are sounds he captured during the humid summer evenings he spent “re-familiarizing himself with the familiar empty spaces of home”, something hinted at in the title which refers to one of the basic neural mechanisms of memory. Essentially, Repetition Suppression is an album that invites the listener to take a walk with the artist and relive the experience together so that it feels more like a conversation than a journey. At the end one can imagine stopping to take to take in a breath of night air, glance up at the stars, and then, with a knowing smile, quietly & contentedly head home.
Repetition Suppression is available from Scissor Tail Records in a uniquely packaged limited edition on CD (50 copies) housed in a handmade sketchbook collaged and laquered by label runner Dylan G. Aycock where the listener can fill in their own thoughts and memories along the way.
More by Dura
“The Circular Ruins” from ‘Five Years’ (Geology Records, 2015)
“Cochineale” from Living Color (Blankstairs, 2015)
“Grief Oscillations” from ‘Altered Resonance’ (Patient Sounds, 2014)