Matt Mocharnuk, the brains behind recording artist Bittersweet Machines is a songwriter with the ability to manipulate the emotions of anyone fortunate enough to listen to his musical creations. I count myself amongst this number – as I have followed Mocharnuk’s creative journey in the last couple of years and with each release, cannot help but be awed by the consistent quality of the songs found on Bittersweet Machines EPs and albums.
New EP – A Night Full of Sharp Edges – is no exception to this rule. Stylistically, Morcharnuk has moved away somewhat from the post-punk revivalist tendencies found on previous releases. The songwriting seems more organic without reliance on any particular ‘genre’. This creative decision has liberated the music to form it’s own conclusions based on the confluence of tunes and lyrics.
What remains the same is the emotional weight of the melodies, the astute use of dynamism, the appropriation of infectious hooks and riffs and ultimately the natural appeal of songs that do not need too much analysis or deep probing in order to divine their joys.
It is an absolute pleasure to move from track to track – songs like “The Longest Minute,” “Is It Enough” and “Screaming Underwater” – embellished simply by acoustic guitar and tasteful keyboards reach out to touch heart and soul, rightfully belonging to the sweet indie Brit rock epoch that birthed bands like Travis, Coldplay and Keane.
Yet another bloody essential release from Bittersweet Machines.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Phil 2: 4, The Message)
This passage of scripture drives and informs my life. It’s a difficult one to follow as it involves self-sacrifice, a quality frowned upon in our world. In April 2007, somewhere in New York City, I resolved that my area of influence was in music and I needed to use this influence to help musicians in Singapore. How exactly, I wasn’t quite sure of at the time but I knew that that had to be my purpose in this life.
Over the course of the last seven years, in the pursuit of this ‘calling’ I have faced tumultuous events in my personal life designed to test my resolve and to lead to new ways and means by which I could invest in and bear fruit from my gifts. It has not been easy, believe me. Often times, my eagerness to help someone else has led to misunderstandings and my fragile low self esteem has taken a lot of battering along the way.
At the end of last year, I rather fancifully imagined that I could venture into a totally new creative area but the last six months have proven how foolish my thinking had been. But through the disappointment, I have learnt to bring the focus back to music and to music people. It was appealing to my ego that new ‘friends’ had turned up to bring me into new pastures where I could prosper but that was my vanity speaking to me and I am thankful to have been put right and properly brought down back to earth.
In the last few weeks, this scope has expanded beyond our shores and has led me to make connections with various foreign bands and the joy I experienced in these encounters has made it clear to me that this was the path all along and all I needed to do was to stick with the program. I will be in Seattle and Vancouver in late September/early October and will take the opportunity to build on and strengthen these new ties as I push myself further into my beloved world of music.
None of these pursuits involve monetary gain or have been conceived to further business interests – I truly believe that that will take care of itself as long as my heart is in the right place. All I want to do is to help as many musicians as I possibly can in whatever shape or form. These are exciting times to be involved in music!