Sieben is one of the many projects of the musical artist Matt Howden. Matt Howden has worked as producer, songwriter, session musician, and score composer. He currently lives in Sheffield, UK. Whilst Sieben is his most well known creation, he has been a collaborator with The Raindogs (Portugal), Sol Invictus (UK), Tony Wakeford (UK), L'Orchestra Noir (UK), L'Âme Immortelle (AT), Emilie Autumn (USA), Faith And The Muse (USA), Of The Wand And The Moon (DK), Larsen (IT), Chris Eckman (USA), Spiritual Front (IT), Shock Headed Peters (UK), Hekate (DE), Job Karma (PL), The Mystery School (USA), HaWthorn (UK) and many others. He releases neoclassical music under his own name.
Matt’s main instrument is violin and he is entirely self-taught. The story goes that, at 18, he was given a friend’s grandfather’s violin and then alienated friends and family over a two year period, finally unleashing himself upon an unsuspecting public in the streets of Newark, Lincoln and Grantham. He moved to Sheffield in 1986 and was part of the vibrant music scene in Sheffield playing in The Glass Hammers, Pigsix 4, Yonni, and Stiki.
Sieben exists because of the classic Chinese text I Ching. Matt was given a reading by a friend which told him to make music he wanted to, not the music he thought people would like. This led to Matt throwing himself into a fully solo career, which indulged and channelled his fantasy and passion into violin and voice.
The premise and spirit of Sieben is layers – layers of instrument and voice that hypnotically draws you into a world of emotion. Lyrically, the themes shift and change from album to album, but are linked by the same sense of dissonance – the smooth, superficially melodious voice belies the dark, quick, twisted stories. Intelligent, quirky use of metaphor and archaic language is set against a backdrop of texture rich music.
The first Sieben album is ‘Forbid The Sun's Escape' (1999) on Tony Wakeford's label Tursa and distributed by World Serpent. The second album was 'The Line And The Hook' (2001) on Matt's own label Redroom. Sieben then signed to Trisol and released on their sublabel Iceflower the albums 'Our Solitary Confinement' (2002), which was Album Of The Month in Germany's Orkus magazine, ‘Sex And Wildflowers’ (2003), ‘Ogham Inside The Night' (2005), ‘High Broad Field’ (2006) and ‘Desire Rites’ (2007). Then Matt Howden returned Sieben to his own label Redroom and there released 'As They Should Sound' (2009), 'Star Wood Brick Firmament' (2010) and 'No Less Than All' (2012).
As alluded to within album credits and lyrics Matt has a deep love of Burnley F.C., curry, kebabs and cider from Wilkes Farm, Somerset.
The central place of the violin and Howden's unusual way of playing it give's Sieben a distinct sound which makes comparison difficult. Whilst, Sieben is frequently classified as neofolk, gothic & experimental and could be as well described as alternative, indie, melancholy freak folk ….the list goes on. Definitively Sieben, and Matt Howden, are best described as unique.
Sieben's Home Page is located at: http://www.matthowden.com/
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