Solo artists have a tough deal. They’re expected to produce music of the same quality and standard as bands, that have access to the combined creative and musical talent of entire band, and are expected to do it with much less resources at their disposable. Solo artists tend to produce simplistic and captivating music – relying on their main musical talents to allow them to create music that can easily rival that of established bands. However, you get solo artists that completely flout the rule book and create music of grandiose and complex proportions. This is the case with Martinique du Toit, who goes by the moniker of Matinino.
She is a self-professed child of the music industry – a statement which is glaringly true seeing as she started playing the piano when she was five years old and quickly progressed to writing her own music when she was ten years old. Having received classical training and a BA in Music Technology from Stellenbosch University – du Toit went on to master a variety of musical instruments as she cycled through a variety of musical projects with her most recent project being CROAK. It was within CROAK that du Toit began to experiment with the loop pedal, and much like Jeremy Loops – she realised that the loop pedal could be a powerful tool in the hands of a musician.
Thus, Matinino was born. Jeremy Loops may use loop pedals to create infectious and upbeat acoustic folk melodies, but Matinino uses them to create soaring harmonies that are the exact polar opposite of his catchy indie-folk musings. matinino rather harnesses her years of classical training to create a variety of harmonies that find their roots in neoclassical music, but adopt a much more ambient alternative pop sound as Matinino dabbles with dark pop influences on her debut solo album. It is an album that focuses quite intently on the harmonies and melodies as a piano notes, guitar chords, electronic drum samples and variety of other ambient noises come together to create a dreamy indie-pop sound tinged with moodiness of Radiohead and the brooding energy of dark pop bands like How To Destroy Angels.
Upon her self-titled debut, shows us the precise range of her musical abilities, and the album quickly becomes a unique statement of what she is capable of doing with her music. The album opens on the rather grandiose yet sombre note of “The Clones We Own” – a soaring piece of ambient alternative pop that cuts deeply beneath the veil of human bravado with piercing lyrics regarding the variety of personas that we put on in order to survive in society. This is contrasted by the upbeat and dream-like nature of “C’set La Vie”. It is a song that aptly lives up to its translation of “such is life” with its soaring melodies and moments of piercing melancholy, as Matinino drives home the point that life happens and sometimes we’ve just got to go along with it.
Matinino destined to do great things within the music scene. She may not possess the mainstream flair that is needed to gain mass popularity, but her sound has a raw aspect to it that connects with you on an emotional level. It is something that is lacking in a lot of music these days, and something that many South African artists can learn from when creating music.