Matt Jenko

Matt Jenko
Hi my name is Matt, but my friends call me Matt. I’m on the wrong side of 29 (damn I hate it every time I have to update that number), definitely feeling my age, but never felt happier and more content than I do at this point in my life. I’ve been through some rocky patches (who hasn’t) and lived to tell the tale, and boy do I gots some stories. When I’m not giving opinions absolutely nobody asked for, I’m doing a worldbuilding with my passion project, vivaellipsis. If you like offbeat nonsense delivered through immersive escapism, then go and get involved. Or don’t, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not yer boss. I’m a simple man with simple interests. I like Yorkshire tea, the sound of rain on the window, and a bloody good story.

Recommended Categories

Music to Escape Reality

Chamber of Reflection

19 April 2022


18 April 2022

Neon City

13 April 2022

cool electronic?

12 April 2022


11 April 2022

We flippin love synthwave so we do

From Andie:

Glass Prism by Windows 96 – First thought, light electro with high synth. It’s as if you’re traveling through space. It starts off with that deep base and then you find yourself speeding by those slow tones and high synth points/dots – dots? I had no other word to describe it, but listen and you’ll totally get it.

America Online by The Midnight – The Midnight just HAD to be on this playlist. It’s so smooth, plus the steady bass with those synthesized vocals? Perfection. And if you listen closely, you get that bit of static sound and I think that just makes the whole track come together as if it really shows that “online” feeling.

Don’t Want To Change Your Mind by FM-80 – Something about this track that’s gonna take you back. It’s like that nostalgic feeling since it sounds like something from the ‘80s. And the vocals here are one of the best. All I can say is that you’ll really feel this one. FM-84’s cinematic synth is beyond beautiful.

Powertrust by Absolute Valentine – I think the perfect way to describe this is to look at its album’s cover art. Heavy and fast synthwave, but it has a part in the middle when it slows down and you can feel its pressure like a heartbeat- in the best way.

Perpetual Tides by Euan Ellis – The perfect mix of different kinds of synths. Euan Ellis poured so much “dreamy synth” in this track, but it’s balanced with that electronic and light-energetic sound (light-energetic? More like a subtle hit).

From Matt:

Dream Tower by Caspro – One from Andie that really stood out to me as being a really vivid soundscape. I could see this being the soundtrack to a cyberpunk search scene, somewhere near the end where the protagonist has almost given up hope. Almost.

Looking For Tracy Tzu by Carpenter Brut – Can’t do a synthwave list without Carpenter I’m sorry that would be illegal. This track hits like a truck with one damn fine vocoder hook as the driver and I for one am ready 2 be collided with. Exquisite every time.

Zodiac by Sung – Listen to the start of this track and tell me you don’t feel instantly ready to go and do stuff. I first heard this driving around the streets of Edinburgh at night (in Forza 4 lol) and I don’t think anything embodies the sound of nightdriving more than this wee beastie.

Dr. Online by Fury Weekend – Who is Dr. Online? I don’t know but they clearly have a PhD in groove (hahaha good 1). With that rolling guitar line over the top this track is prime for movement, though where we’re going I have no idea. PS I LOVE the crush of the underlying chords

Salem by Dance With the Dead – oh wow, what a powerful track! One absolutely laden with deep emotion, again undercut by those really grizzly guitar rings. If this is your first foray into DWtD or even synthwave as a whole, I can think of no better place to begin.


11 April 2022

We said ‘let’s make a playlist where the only rule is the album cover is really bright and vibrant’ and so that’s exactly what we did

From Andie:

Coastline by Dezza – Deep bass, electronic dance sound. More than halfway into the track, you listen to those airy vocals and It’s like a whole new track merged with it. Definitely, something to dance to, just being free.

Eros by Dusky – For this, all I can say is, you’re gonna need it on loop, that’s for sure. And…I had to attach the music video for the cool visuals:

Satisfied by Catching Flies – The ambient melody is insane. The vocals add a whole new depth to the electro vibe and you just have to close your eyes and…feel it.

Scarlett Groove by Maribou State – The build-up of this track gets better and better. Its soothing pop beats make you wanna move and the vocals added here and there make the perfect transition.

Signals by Cinnamon Chasers – The album title’s called Doorways, and listening to it, it’s as if you entered a doorway to another dimension. Its deep electronic makes you sink, but then you get hit with a beat, and bam… you’re brought back. It goes on like that and it’s the best feeling ever.

From Matt:

Found by Matt Fax & Estiva – I’ve been playing a lot of Raft lately and I had this playlist on loop for like 3 hours whilst doing so, so now this track really reminds me of going on an oceanfaring journey. And now I’ve planted that imagery in your noggin, it can for you as well! Put it on a sail the seven seas you salty seadog!

Fireflies by Uppermost – I flippin love Uppermost. I think we may have ended up adding like 3 of his tracks to this list haha. Fireflies is such a standout because it really evokes the imagery of the name. It’s such a warm sounding track, I can see meself stood by a lake at night watching the fireflies do firefly stuff.

Elemental by Phaeleh – Flippin eck this track goes for a walk! If you’re looking for a sonic adventure you’ve find one my hobbit friend! Elemental has all these subtle elements fading in and out and by the time you reach the end, you feel a real sense of being somewhere new. But wait, there’s more…

More Than Human by Luttrell – …because (totally by accident) I discovered Elemental melts seamlessly into More Than Human, so much so I can’t listen to one without the other without me ears going ‘eh, what’s happenin’. Listen to them as a matched pair, preferably on a 12s crossfade, and disagree with me go on I dare u.

Ten Tigers by Bonobo – I’m gonna cheat here and copy and paste something I already done a writing of for this track by Bonobo on me where to start list (also called Ten Tigers): “this track does something truly special. It moves through this feeling of tension, suggesting phrases initially, before opening up to give the full truth.”


Froggin’ Bullfish

27 March 2022

Are Friends Eclectic? These Friends Are!

20 March 2022

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash


13 December 2021

Everyone claims they grew up during the golden age of music. Boomers will point to the 60’s and 70’s radicalism, citing Disco, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Motown, the whole Woodstock lineup. It’s called Classic Rock for a reason. Millennials will argue the 2000’s as the peak, with the advanced production in hip hop, the unfiltered diversity and creativity that was unlocked with streaming, and Beyonce. Even the Lost Generation (if they were still around) would sit you down and wax poetic about the Roaring Twenties: the start of the modern music era. Jazz, Big Band dance music, the Blues, and Broadway show tunes. The true OGs.

At the risk of being disrespectful to those that came before and dismissive to those that emerged after, the generation I believe responsible for the best music (defined as depth of quality and innovation): Generation X. 80’s Pop (Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna). Grunge/Alternative (Nirvana, Radiohead). Hair Bands. Hip Hop. And the oft-forgotten contributor, the foster kid nobody wanted, who grew up to be a legend: Punk.

I was a freshman in high school when I was first exposed to hardcore punk (also known as thrash metal or skate punk). I was a skater, but more importantly, I was a punk. Obsessed with Hip Hop, my favorite rap artists were the rebellious ones (Public Enemy, NWA, Too Short, Beastie Boys). I was also a fan of Heavy Metal, in particular Metallica, our Bay Area hometown hero. While rap spoke to the external stressors and pressures like police harassment, project/gang life, and fighting to survive against the odds, heavy metal dealt with internal stressors and pressures, like depression, unrealized expectations, drug addiction, and fighting to survive your own demons.

Then Punk rolled in and merged those two worlds into a new one. A loud, destructive, intimidating world that was somehow calm, inviting, and inspirational. Primus. The songs were short but lasting, the lyrics basic but piercing. I didn’t have to go between Mom and Dad’s anymore, they reconciled and moved into a quaint, 2-bedroom ranch-style rental on the corner of angst and chalk outlines. I just called it home.

This playlist takes me back to that time, while showcasing the evolution of the genre into faster, harder, stronger.

Primus –> Ghøstkid
Suicidal Tendencies –> The Virus
Rage Against The Machine –> Pour Habit

Generation Z is building its case…

Relaxed Experimental

8 November 2021

Relaxed. . .I want to unwind, to untangle myself from whatever’s going on in my life. Music is always my salvation for doing that. . .

Experimental. . .But I want to be stimulated. I want layers, complexities, I want to be soothed but engaged. . .

Relaxed. . .I don’t want to be overstimulated by emotive vocals or dense verse, I want space in-between sounds, round edges and warm tones. . .

Experimental. . .I want my mediums mixed. Natural and synthetic sounds in synergy, beats connecting neural pathways and snapping at synapses to forge new energy, to make way for deeper breaths, a stiller mind. . . relaxed. . .experimental.

Matt and I share an affinity for this genre evading sound we’ve labelled Relaxed, Experimental and in putting this list together we gradually defined this sound organically. Through the back and forth of song selection there is a natural ebb and flow that brings about subtle changes in energy.

Emotive, beatless pieces like Maggio by Yotto and Lost in You by Pedro Aguiar gradually give way to playful broken beats and pulsing dancefloor grooves in for the form of New World by Anchorsong and Parallel 2 by Four Tet. We hit our stride at the 10 track mark and from there it feels like one track is an extension of the last – each track just long enough to stimulate the senses and sink into a soothing stream of sounds before the next weaves into the consciousness. The songs began to pick themselves as we relaxed into the experiment and let the music lead the way.

Have you ever had that experience of finally having some time to relax and when it comes to it you can’t? You’re looking round for something to do, something to occupy your mind. You’ve gone from hyper-stimulated to nothing and your mind isn’t ready for the pause. This list speaks to that – a gateway to a more relaxed state.

Transitions Vol. 1

17 September 2021

About this playlist

Waiting – IHF

Starting this playlist off was quite the step to take. We had no idea what direction we were going in with it, so I decided to play it safe and go with a track that could have worked on both Escape Reality or Essay Writing. A smart move, no? Little did I know just how much this list would evolve and mutate

One thing I did know though was that each transition would have to work on a 12s crossfade. I know it says 5, but I always work to 12 seconds and this time was no different!

I’m Only Sleeping – The Beatles

When we started the list there was no preset theme or framing – we were going to bounce from track to track and see where it went – the only thing we agreed on was a 5 second crossfade. IHF’s Waiting was released this year, in 2021, and immediately set the tone for a razor sharp up to date playlist with the latest trends and technologies. Hah! I’ve heard that reverse vocal effect before – maybe not on the vocal patch but certainly on a guitar – check The Beatles 1966 album Revolver and I’m Only Sleeping where the world got to hear such an effect for the first time – cutting edge technology indeed! Oh – and the transition into the track was pretty sweet too.

Acid Turkish Bath – Kasbian

Revolver was clearly such a huge inspiration to Kasabian, especially on West Ryder and Velociraptor!, so I knew the minute I saw Andrew had added what track three was going to be. Given recent changes to Kasabian’s line up I had to be careful to go with a Serge track, but I reckon this one did the job wonderfully. But where would we go from here…?

Steady – The Staves

Oh My God – that Kasabian track – what an Opera! Coming beautifully out George Harrison’s reversed guitars into more guitars and an Eastern tinged string section and then the entire journey across different grooves, different sections – the track’s almost a playlist in itself. There were a billion ways to go but I found myself focused on the outro and what would fit beautifully onto that plucked guitar and haunting female vocal – aaah yes – The Staves

Glass & Stone – Tor

The outro to Steady had me stumped for about a day. But there was this tiny motif flickering in the background of the track that caught my ear and the minute it did I was like ‘it’s gotta be Tor!’ I had a spell in July of listening almost exclusively to Tor because the minute you hear his music, you get just a wee bit addicted to it. The way Glass & Stone melts out of Steady is perhaps one of my finest moments as a curator; G&S isn’t a particularly hard track to fade into another given how the reverse cymbal rise gives you lots of space for pairing, but to make the connection to Steady did take quite a bit of creative thinking, so pats on the back to Matty. It’s also one of many of Tor’s tracks that remind me of the Witcher, exploring the ravaged battlegrounds of Velen, and I’m always happy to sip from that particular cup of nostalgia. Now, for a round of gwent…

Bad Girls – M.I.A

Straight off the bat I’m hearing the same Eastern feel to the Tor track – it’s as if Matt had spent the last few months touring Northern Africa and the Middle East – which initially had me reaching for a Peter Gabriel soundtrack but I wanted to keep the energy up – I’d always loved the video for Bad Girls and the transition around the bells was perfect.

±ªþ³§ (feat. Yonaka) – Bring Me the Horizon

I gotta agree with Andrew about the way Glass & Stone fades into Bad Girls, it’s virtually seamless. Given that synchronicity, at first the BMTH/YONAKA track might seem like a bit of a cop-out — it literally starts with a shaker, you could drape that over anything. But when you give it a listen, there are plenty of similarities with the previous track that makes them perfect list mates. ±ªþ³§ (which says ‘tapes’, if you can just about make out if you squint (or google it)) has a progressive energy that spins through all kinds of ideas, and I knew I was either setting Andrew up for a head scratcher, or he’d get it right away. There would be no in between.

Tessellate – Alt J

So now I’m beginning to feel what this playlist is about – Transitions – the idea that you can take a listener to a completely different space – as long as the transition makes sense. I knew of Matt’s deep affection for Bring Me The Horizon (link to album review!) – this was another epic piece coming in at over 7 minutes – but it was the beat that kept nagging at me (aha! So it was the head scratcher then — Matt) – the intricate percussion – add to that the vocal “And I try my best to stick around, but when you’re broken like me..” – there was something kinda brutal in how Tesselate’s opening chords quietly but effectively drowned them out and took us in a different direction

Himalayan – il:lo Remix – Emancipator, il:lo

I didn’t even have to think about this next transition — I heard Himalayan in that outro virtually instantly. The obvious play might have been to go with the Emanc original, given that it matches the Alt-J track a little more in terms of feel and groove, but I’ve been addicted to the il:lo remix since I first heard it. Il:lo make some of the most colourful tracks in electronic music, it’s always such a joy to see them crop up on me release radar. Listen to this and try not to dance. I guarantee you you cannot.

aphelion – vivaellipsis; bayard brasko

Hah! I remember listening to the Emancipator track (urm, I think you mean il:lo PAL — Matt) on earbuds out walking – and not having looked at the artist or the track title, I quickly knew exactly what to put next – vivaellipsis’ Himalaya – I literally laughed when I saw the name of the track – and then nearly cried when I realized that Himalaya was being remastered so wasn’t available for the list. No worries – vivaellipsis has a particular groove and the way the Emancipator track faded to nothing I wanted something that would gently bring you back and then bring the energy back up – hello aphelion!

Perfect – CloZee

I gotta be honest, this one actually was a cop out — the minute I saw Andrew had gone with aphelion I knew what was coming after. This is largely due to the fact I’d already made this particular pairing on Escape Reality, so I knew they were going to play nicely together right away.

Só sei dançar com você – Tulipa Ruiz, Zé Pi

Had never heard of CloZee but I’m loving the vocal positioning and the lush feel of the strings – it feels right at home with the last few tracks – time to change the groove – the outro with it’s stereo spanning synths and breathy loops was set up beautifully to introduce a shift – guitar in one ear – vocal slap back in the center – the rest of the instruments falling around you – what a groove!

Shinrin-Yoku – Enter Shikari

In the spirit of curveballs, I felt like I had to sling one of my own. I realised I’d been defaulting to my bread and butter, but there was space with this list to explore a much broader palette. My default ‘let’s shake things up then’ artist is always Enter Shikari, because they embody the very spirit of sonic diversity. They can go from crushingly, violently heavy to softer than a mouse in slippers in a heartbeat, so there’s always something from the repertoire. In the end I went with Shinrin-Yoku, mainly because it sounds like a garden. You know what I mean don’t you. This is one of the coolest transitions on the list, the way the leaf rustle comes in from Shinrin-Yoku as the vocals melt out of Só sei dançar com você, I actually find it quite hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. And then the way it twists into Phobia in this grinding, cacophonous gnarl of sound that’s punctuated beautifully with the 808 kick? It’s brilliant

Phobia – Wuh Oh Remix – Nothing But Thieves, Wuh Oh

Damn I’m in love with the Enter Shikari track – I remember listening to it on repeat for a day – the authenticity of the lyric and the clear and compelling hooks – had me almost going down a Kate Tempest but the energy wasn’t right – how do you follow that huge ending: “We are dust on the stained glass windows, trying to comprehend the cathedral” with crashing guitars and drums? A drum machine – that’s how! But of course one that changes course pretty quickly…

Looking For Tracy Tzu – Carpenter Brut

I don’t know what it was about Phobia but it had me thinking it would be followed by Carpenter Brut even before I’d finished listening to it. The outro to Phobia has this real dystopian city feel to it, and it blends perfectly with the rolling arp at the start of Looking For Tracy Tzu. I guess it’s hard to think dystopian and not also think of Carpenter, and what better track to go exploring a cyberpunk nightmare than the soaring darkness that is Looking For Tract Tzu?

The Underdog – Spoon

Oh man – it took me days to find the next track after the Carpenter Brut track – here’s what I finally write to Matt when I go it:
“Finally – that Carpenter Brut track was doing my head in – obvs I loved it but I had three spearate tracks it was triggering in my head – the synth hook was reminiscent of so many tracks – I spent two days hunting and couldn’t find them – finally I went down a rabbit hole driven by the electronic aspect of the track through LCD Soundsystem and somehow ended up on Spoon and remembered their album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga album – which I loved – and remembered the intro – and now… everything is groovy”

Slow Hands – Interpol

Alright, I got thrown for a loop here — that intro was hard to roll out of. But after listening to that tremolo outro a good few times, the intro to Slow Hands just started to play in my head. I threw it and voila! They played together perfectly. Something about the way the drums from The Underdog tumble out, this perfectly imperfect overlay to the straight arrow percussion of Slow Hand, just felt very special.

It’s The End of the World As We Know It – R.E.M.

I spent a morning playing with different tracks from The Killers and none of them seemed to work – it’s the slight opening on the high hat and the underlying energy of the outro with its abrupt ending that was proving challenging. I knew that I wanted to keep the energy up and was thinking of a snare driven opening – The Clash’s Tommy Gun almost made it but the cross fade blew out the opening guitars – so R.E.M. it was

Carnivorous – Band of Skulls

Oh man, I’m so glad you didn’t throw Tommy Gun at me — flashbacks to 2006 in a practice room when our manager at the time wanted us to be a Clash covers band. I couldn’t get the rapid fire fill right at the start and it was STRESS. And don’t get me started on Police and Thieves… Anyway! Another tricky one to line up on a 12s fade, but the organs at the start of Carnivorous had this darkness that actually felt like the beginning of the end of the world. So, more of a conceptual transition than a sonic one, but we never said the transitions were sonic did so keep your twitter comments to yerself 😉 Carnivorous is a piledriver of a song and I tend to add a Band of Skulls song to most collab playlists so indeed Andrew, I do know the feeling 😀

Temptation – New Order

You know that feeling when you’re making a playlist with someone else and they add a track from one of your favorite bands? I do – thank you Matt – I love Band of Skulls and they’re scattered across loads of my playlists – the tricky thing here again is the abrupt ending of Carnivorous with the full 5 seconds of silence that kills the crossfade – so I was looking for a fade in Intro – Blue Monday was a bit in your face so Temptation it was.

Lost In Yesterday – Tame Impala

Y’know it’s weird but the inspiration for this transition came from this image I had in my head of Temptation being played at like a prom or a wedding disco, and if you’ve seen the video for Lost In Yesterday you’ll see why I made this connection. If you haven’t, it’s here:

Mute it and play Temptation over the top. Tell me it doesn’t work.

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder

(You know, it’s so weird — I was thinking the day before you added this just how much Lost In Yesterday reminded me of Stevie. It’s that guitar lick, it really reminds me ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, but Higher Ground works equally! – Matt)

Having gone through weeks of agony, wrestling with intros and outros, it was lovely to arrive at the end of the list and know exactly what the last track was going to be. Kevin Parker’s funky bass line and underlying groove seem to be paying tribute to Stevie’s Clav playing and so – hang on – just checking the transition – perfect!!!

You should listen to Transitions Vol. 2 here

Playlist image by Vino Li on Unsplash


9 August 2021

It’s always an interesting feeling when your mind gets out of lockstep with what you’re used to.

I was talking about this with a mentor just now, exploring the idea of feeling burnt out and how difficult rekindling can be. Earlier this year I was firing on all cylinders, delivering some of my best work and generally performing at the top of my game. I think my brain got used to that, started to build an identity around that, and ultimately, got a little a bit too invested in that.

I like to talk a lot about where we derive our sense of self and sense of value from, and the last few months have been a powerful lesson in how insidiously external ideas can creep up on you. You don’t realise, it’s too gradual, but over time, you’re judging yourself based on a fixed position when you yourself remain dynamic.

That’s not how to build a strong sense of self.

What happens is you find yourself out of sync with your own ideas, because the situation you’ve tied yourself to has moved on. Imagine a boat tied to a dock in a stormy sea. Your wellbeing is the rope, and something has to give.

What today’s insight has granted me is the knowledge that if you don’t check in on yourself, you’ll lose touch with yourself. You’ll become unfamiliar with each other, and it feels very strange. I honestly think this is what it means to feel out of sorts.

You have to take stock. You have to stay up to date with where you’re at versus where you were. We are in a state of constant evolution. Even when we feel in a rut, we’re still changing. In fact, being in a rut can create an illusion of no change, until things are so different you have no choice but to stop and realign with how far you’ve drifted from where you thought you were.

Your role changes. Your expectations, what is expected of you, changes. Being aware that this is an indisputable aspect of being human allows you to keep sight of where you are, even if you’re not quite sure where you’re going. Because our paths will stray. We’re not trains on a track, we’re boats on a sea (sans rope now, of course). Interesting developments will send us in totally unpredictable directions, and yes we might smash into rocks. But forcing ourselves to think of life as a linear path doesn’t change it’s nature, it just creates friction, denial, and sadness.

If you do one thing today, just ask yourself what’s going on, why you’re doing what you’re doing, worrying what you’re worrying, dreading what you’re dreading. Are you and yourself in sync with each other? Are you and yourself in agreement with each other? What does one self know that the other doesn’t? Which of you holds beliefs that don’t apply to where you are anymore?

This might sound a little nutty, a bit abstract, but I promise you it’s the existential recalibration you’ve been looking for to get you feeling back in sorts.

Have a bloody lovely day.

support me on patreon

If you find my work valuable, or you just really like my taste in music, then you can pay what you feel to support me on this journey. That’s really all there is to it! Your support means I can focus more energy in this space, and continue the psychodynamic odyssey. All support is appreciated equally & emphatically

become a patron