Hear The Track HereI've known Florida musician Matthew Kurz (aka MJK) for about three years and I can testify that he isn't one of the more prolific artists around but when he does come up with tracks you can bet they are about as solid, professional and commercially oriented as anything you are likely to hear anywhere. From the grand total of eleven tracks on his page I have reviewed at least four, ALL of which got a Must Have from me and all of which have featured in my end of year reviews. So the one thing that absolutely gets me every time is that knack, that unerring aim that produces something of quality and worth. Unfortunately, attaining that standard takes a lot of time, patience and yay lets hear it for bloody-mindedness. While it's true that you have to excel in the arcane crafts of production techniques, and have the necessary arranging skills in abundance all of it will mean nothing without the talent to match it. Without that talent what you have is something that sounds great but is hollow and leaves with all the speed of a Chinese meal.
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, over the course of the last four tracks, Matthew has proved time and again that he has the talent as a performer (everything you hear is him) and as a vocalist of no mean power. A natural born singer if I ever heard one. Where he really scores though is in the songs he writes, wonderful little pop odes that embody everything that is good about the genre. Take, for example, the rightfully detested Autotune vocal trick that has become de riguer amongst certain R&B musicians. It was kinda cute the first times you heard it but then along came Cher and I Believe I'm Insane (or something like that) and lo, everybody became so. Now everybody wants to sing like a demented squirrel. However, when used properly - as an EFFECT - the Autotune feature can intensify and broaden a vocals appeal.
One thing that has always been clear about MJK's work is that the man has taste. Arrangement, instruments, tone and feel, his tracks really do have it all. For my part I just wish he were a little bit more prolific because, well dammit, I just can't get enough. If you think I am just spinning my usual Gilmore Gabble, subject this guy to the acid test. Go over to his page and pick any track, if you like one you'll be sold on the rest. THEN might be a good idea to come back to this because you would be listening in context. Pop has always been the name of Matthew's first love and that adoration is obvious in everything the guy does. What really sticks in my craw is that he isn't famous already, at least as a knockout songwriter, if not a terrifically able pop singer.
MUST HAVE pop. Instant #1