After Michigan EDM artist, Matthew Parker announced his new label deal with Drom (Dream Records new EDM label) he quickly went into the studio to complete his new album, Shadowlands, a 13-song album chalked full of electronic, dance, dub step beats mixed with Matthew’s voice.
“Releasing Shadowlands is really amazing for me, because not only is it the product of literally countless hours of imagination, thought, sweat, and tears (Ok, maybe I didn’t actually cry…), but it’s also in a sense my thoughts and beliefs–not only lyrically, but musically too. It’s musically “me” in a sense. So it’s exciting to see this finally reach people, and I’m looking forward to hearing how this impacts listeners. Onward and upward!”
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Listen. Dance. Repeat.| Posted October 09, 2014
I'm going to start this review off with something I've noticed in Christian music. As the musical subculture continues to change, as music always does, the artists seem to be bringing us music that is more celebratory and party-friendly than ever before. I hear it Rend Collective's The Art of Celebration. I hear it in Crowder's new brand of "folktronica." And I am hearing it in the recent surge of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) in the Christian market. It appears that God is perhaps trying to send a message through His musicians that life is to be enjoyed and celebrated fully in Him. This is a message that I see continued in EDM artist Matthew Parker's newest release, Shadowlands.
Music fans may have previously heard of Matthew Parker from his remix work with Lecrae, Capital Kings, and Andy Mineo. Now the producer/artist is releasing his first major album with Dream Records' EDM imprint, Dröm Records, and it is an excellent experience. Parker brings us a unique brand of EDM that blends elements of progressive house, dubstep, trap, and even reggaestep. Shadowlands is an album that will give upcoming Christian EDM artists hope for the genre and will inspire ALL who hear it to dance.
"We Go" kicks off the album with infectious party rock reminiscent of Family Force 5 (perhaps even giving a nod to the band's ex-singer Soul Glow Activatur). This song is a bass-heavy, earth-rattling pep talk reminding us that it's our mission to "go to the ends of the earth."
The energy is kept high with dubstep heavy cuts like "Immortal," which calls our attention to the fact that we are eternal beings and that "every moment counts, every human matters." The wobble bass is killer again on "Light of Dawn," which features a fierce rap verse from Cash Hollistah.
Speaking of rap, "MouseTrap" is highlighted by a verse from Chicago rapper Skrip who slams the devil's luring traps with the mercy of God. Another favorite track of mine is the reggaestep "All Around De World" featuring Jamaica-native St. Matthew. St. Matthew and Parker call for us to come together and remember, "The people of the Lord are one."
The themes of darkness turning to light and death giving way to life are very apparent on this album and are well-matched by the positively dance-y house beats. Songs like "Shadowlands" which says, "Savior, save us, break this darkness, take the storm clouds from the sky," and "Life Again" which claims "We were meant to see the day when death gives way to life" match the sonic interest with lyrical depth.
Along with these standout tracks, really every song on this album offers something different and interesting. Uplifting and hopeful lyrics are beautifully met by synth riffs that make you want to do nothing but rejoice all night long.
I'll admit that I'm not an avid EDM listener. I'll listen to the occasional Skrillex, Deadmau5, or Zedd song, but only casually. However, digging into this album gave me more of a love for the genre than I expected. This effort from Matthew Parker is truly pushing the boundaries of Christian music in a good way. The production is slick, the danceability (I may have made that up) is at max level, and the lyrics are well thought-out. If you are looking for fresh listening material, look no further than Shadowlands.
Song to Download Now:
"Life Again" (Get it on iTunes here.)