There's something very special about Vester Koza's music, an immediacy that makes it stand out a mile in the crowded landscape of electronica and bass music. His music is individualist, sophisticated and very beautiful – but there's a groove and instant thrill to everything he does that could only come from lifelong immersion in the dancefloor and unironic love for this country's raving history.
Perhaps it's something to do with growing up in relative isolation from traditional centres of cool, too. Like Aphex Twin in Cornwall, Squarepusher in Essex and Boards Of Canada in Inverness, Matt wasn't surrounded by innovative sounds – he had to make his own entertainment! His upbringing in Cheshire was “just normal northern working class,” he says.
The first time he ever came in contact with music that felt like something more than just background was actually Nirvana. But then he found hardcore and the fiercer strains of drum'n'bass of the mid 90s, at the age of 12, and fell for them hard. A boy in the year above him at school had decks - “wobbly Soundlab things from Argos!” – and with a couple of other mates, they would collect and swap Helter Skelter and Dreamscape rave tape packs “that they sold in the backroom of this tiny little shop in the town centre”, and dream of emulating the DJs they heard on them. His favourite tape was a local one – from New Year's Eve '96 at a night called Kinetic in nearby Stoke-on-Trent.
Where many in experimental music who look back to the history of rave music do so with a kind of misty nostalgia for a lost past, Vester Koza music is as celebratory as it is introspective. “I like music that comes from a real, honest place,” says Matt, and there's no question that his music now is doing that. It's complex, involved, as suited to headphone voyaging as to the dark of the club, and it marks a move towards song-like structures and increased musicality, with his live bass, guitar and synth playing but it's filled with the buzz of excitement that has filled Matt's musical life ever since rave music first provided his way of escaping the routines of small-town life.
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