In recent years, there has been a revival of the techno scene
that once defined the city of Detroit. Annual events such as the
Detroit Electronic Music Festival and the abundance of DJs
performing every weekend throughout the area have ensured that
Detroit’s moniker as the “birthplace” of techno
has not been forgotten. One of the DJs spreading metro
Detroit’s sound is a University alum and current Detroiter,
Matthew Dear.

Music Reviews
(Forest Casey/Daily)

Dear was introduced to electronic music while still a teenager
in Texas. His older brother’s record collection, although not
primarily techno, revealed a world of remixes and fully
instrumental tracks. From there, Dear moved to Ann Arbor where he
DJed for local house parties and eventually met Sam Valenti IV.
Valenti, of West Bloomfield, and Dear created Dear’s first
record, Hands Up for Detroit during a summer in London. The
record was also the debut release for electronic label Ghostly
International, which Valenti heads.

Since then, Dear has produced under different aliases as well.
He signed to Berlin-based Perlon as Jabberjaw and famed producer
Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 label as False. As Jabberjaw, he
released three singles blending experimental house music with
traditional techno, evoking the sound of Detroit‘s most
illustrious DJs. Dear’s work as False was a much more
minimalist effort featuring tricky beats and simple bass lines. His
most acclaimed work to date, however, has come as Matthew Dear on
Ghostly. As one of the acts on Ghostly’s more house-oriented
division, Spectral, Dear has become one of the most prominent and
lauded producers in the country.

Much of this recent fame came following the release of his first
full album, Leave Luck to Heaven. A loose English
translation of the word “nintendo,” Leave Luck to
Heaven
blended synth-pop with darker industrial techno
reminiscent of early Detroit to create a dance record enjoyable in
any situation. The single “Dog Days” exemplified
Dear’s goal to depart from the traditional path of techno in
its incorporation of pop elements, including prominent vocals. As a
result, it became, as many described, one of the most addictive
songs of the year. Major media recognized the rest of the album as
well, and labeled the release as one of 2003’s best.

This critical success has led to a widespread following. In
addition to performing at the Detroit festival and throughout
Europe, Dear opened at acclaimed British rapper Dizzee
Rascal’s U.S. debut. He also played at the premier electronic
music gathering, the Winter Music Conference in Miami, and this
past weekend at the South by Southwest festival in Austin,
Texas.

As he continues to tour, Matthew Dear’s role as the next
artist in the long line of Detroit’s musical exports becomes
more evident. Each show’s set gets the growing crowds dancing
and leaves listeners anticipating Dear’s next,
boundary-breaking release.

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