THE THIRD EYE FOUNDATION
Booking: Davide – info(@)folkwisdom.net
Matt was not even 16 while he decided to stop his studies to devote himself to his passion for music. He got a job at the famous Revolver Records in Bristol, a shop that was later the topic of Richard King’s book “Original Rockers” which explains how it influenced the spread of indie music and especially trip hop. This was an experience that profoundly influenced Matt and a period in which he forged his musical culture. Back in those days, Matt was also DJing in Bristol clubs though he wasn’t even 18 and not legally allowed to enter those clubs.
Since 1993, under The Third Eye name, he appeared on albums by Movietone and Flying Saucer Attack, and started his own band with Kate Wright and Rachel Brooks – Linda’s Strange Vacation, which later became the name of his own micro-label on which he released the very first songs from The Third Eye Foundation. In 1995, Matt was one of the very few artists involved in the tribute album to the famous US Krautrock duo Silver Apples, Electronics Evocations. He was then invited to open for them on their US reunion tour. By the age of 20, Matt had already been involved in nearly every area of the music industry. But the story was only just beginning.
In 1996, he finally released his first album as The Third Eye Foundation, Semtex, on his own label with support from Domino Recordings (the beginning of a long standing collaboration). It was recorded in a squat which he shared with Matt Jones from Crescent, on a 4 track recorder borrowed from Dave Pearce from Flying Saucer Attack. It was mixed with headphones way too loud which resulted in permanent hearing loss at around 3 khz. The result is brutal and uncompromising, and features a mix of noisy ripped up guitars and hectic drum machines with Debbie Parsons’ vocals on some songs. Semtex is the antithesis of electronic dancefloor music and was to brand its style into Matt’s discography where social unrest, loneliness, political confusion, anger and anti-establishment feelings are regular themes. The Third Eye Foundation have released 5 albums in total along with a large number of singles, EPs, collaborations and remixes with the last being the particularly well-named The Dark (2010, Ici D’Ailleurs).
The rest of the story is better known. Matt Elliott progressively gave up working on his laptop to develop his guitar playing and vocal skills which are now central to his “solo” discography starting with the hybrid The Mess We Made (2003), the impressive, large-scale Songs trilogy (2004-2009) or the more optimistic Only Myocardial Infarcation Can Break Your Heart (2013). However, the ghost of The Third Eye Foundation is never far away and Matt likes to reactivate the project from time to time. He has particularly remixed many bands and prestigious artists in the last 20 years including Tarwater, Blonde Redhead, Mogwai, Ulver, Yann Tiersen or Thurston Moore. The latter invited him to play under the Brooklyn Bridge alongside Sonic Youth in 1997.
In 2018 the new T3EF album “Wake the Dead”, feat. cello player Gaspar Claus (Jim O’Rourke, Susan Stevens, Keiji Haino), composer David Chalmin (Madonna, Rufus Wainwright, Shannon Wright) and drummer Raphael Séguinier (Nouvelle Vague, Chocolate Genius, Saul Williams), will be released by Ici d’Ailleurs Rec.
WAKE THE DEAD:
There was a time when The Third Eye Foundation was the mirror of the world from which the group drew its substance. But the reflection faded and dirt accumulated so it only provided deformed images and gradually became the world’s shadow. This willingness to look at and express images and words about humans and their environment has since been embodied in the completely open face of its founder, Matt Elliott.
Thus, The Third Eye Foundation is a discrete entity, the opposite of what Matt Elliott may otherwise represent. The Third Eye Foundation is not a project based on openness. The Third Eye Foundation builds walls topped with barbed wire. The Third Eye Foundation captures you, locks you into its universe and keeps you there. It is no longer a question of finding a balance between dark shadows and light. Eight years ago already, The Dark already portrayed this state of affairs. Today, Wake The Dead is banging the last nails into the boards that make up the barricades. If you want to wake the dead, you have to get into the right shape and frame of mind. You need to accept that black is the only valid colour and that it is futile to rely on your imagination to create a way out.
Death is a prison for the living. To enter and abandon yourself is a way of temporarily waking those whose absence haunts your memories. Wake The Dead is like a key which attempts to open the doors of memory.
Waking the dead is not a question of meaning but rather of sensations. Free will and free thought have no place here – in the universe of The Third Eye Foundation, humans are no more than a simple product of their environment. This may seem extremely violent and dehumanizing but it is not the case at all. We just need to get rid of our certainties, empty ourselves and put ourselves on the same level as those we consider to be “the other”.
And that’s probably the greatest quality of an album like Wake The Dead. Its abstract compositions are without a format and thus implicitly participate in the deconstruction of the imaginary, of all logical forms which we sometimes cling to without even knowing why. It offers something essential in its unpredictable approach – the possibility of letting go without this ever being judged as an admission of weakness. Comfort is sometimes found in wandering and uncertainty.
In a way, Wake The Dead is an album without beginning or end. It’s a journey that never really ends like an infinite but unstable loop that lets itself be invaded by the thousand details revealed with each listen. Its melodic variations instil themselves without us realizing and then progressively change our perception of the work as might a story that seems to repeat itself but in reality is never really the same.
This means the album could only be instrumental. Words have no place here except to confuse matters a little further. And the 40 minutes of throbbing, hypersensitive drum and bass that make up the record are not aimed at sending a message to the mind. The intention is to make souls dance, to unite them and to remind us that, despite our choices and individual convictions, we are all components of the same whole and whether living or dead, we are connected forever.