Matthew Seligman, the bassist for The Soft Boys and backing artist for everyone from David Bowie to Morrissey, Sinéad O’Connor, The Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby, tragically passed away at 64 in 2020 from Covid-19 and a hemorrhagic stroke. Seligman left an enormous void with his death.
MRC HK/jansongs have compiled several collaborations Seligman recorded with singer, musician, and producer Jan Linton, who helped internationalise the music scene in Tokyo, recording with members of Japan, Duran Duran, Ippu Do’s Masami Tsuchiya, the late Kenichi Kurosawa, Bill Nelson, and others.
Seligman’s talent and emotive bass, embraced by Linton’s synths, overflows in these offerings, including a new EP, Byzantine, consisting of two songs plus remixes. The new release is bundled with the three-disc version of a previous album in which Seligman appeared, I Actually Come Back (IACB). Seligman remixed the title track, called “Matthew’s Edit”, which features his sublime fretless bass performance. The background is Linton performing live on Christmas day at Hong Kong TST waterfront, a venue Matthew often used to frequent. “We thought it might be a nice gesture, and not quite time to say goodbye. His presence lingers on,” Linton muses.
Byzantine in its original form is dizzyingly introspective; a bittersweet symphony careening toward the wild unknown. I Actually Come Back has a nostalgic flavour; its ethereal quality emulating a thin red cord separating the veils of the spirit and material worlds, making the posthumously released remix ever more poignant.
The gorgeous King Hong EP is a fascinating and at times surprising atmospheric psychedelic journey that features the full-length version of King Hong and an alternative take of Low Down, with Matthew’s voice and improv, a previously unseen photo of Matthew, reminiscences about the project and its performance in Hong Kong etc, in a six-page foldout sleeve in jewel case. Loaded with fretless bass art funk, gentle ambience, and haunting voice, the cinematic instrumentals are timeless masterpieces.
Sendai is very different from King Hong – a more industrial flavour permeates the album, evoking memories of the tidal pools brought on by the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
You can order the album here. This comes with the completely new remix EP Byzantine Remixes. Four discs (I Actually Come Back/Buddha Machine/Selected Esoterica) for just $17.50 USD.