Matthew Chaim Presents an Alternative View on Death in "Form"


Photo: Dan Robinson  

Today we find ourselves at the precipice of another cycle. The first of the month incites a laundry list of recurring responsibilities but also an opportunity to try again, to ebb and flow, hopefully learning something new in the process.  

For Matthew Chaim, May 1st, 2020 is a symbolic date. For one it marks the artist’s 30th birthday, a landmark year that crash lands an individual out of one decade and into the next. Of course, this happens many times over in our lives, but the leap from your 20s to 30s often comes with a serious set of questions. For Chaim, these questions revolve around “Form."  

The first single following his debut album, "Form" sheds light on the reoccurring mini "deaths" that are sprinkled throughout our individual lifetimes. The death of ignorance leading to the cultivation of wisdom or the death of a habit transforming into a new mindful reality. Chaim likens this idea to coming in and out "form." In his own words,  

"In a word, 'Form’ is about death. Not just the death that comes at the end of life. But rather the death we face all the time. As human beings, we are constantly moving between form and formlessness. Every night, we let ourselves fall into the death-like unconsciousness of sleep. Even when we're awake, our bodies' particles are constantly renewing themselves so that we physically take on new form billions of times a day. And as we grow up, old values die out and new ones are born in their place.  

With Form, I wanted to dip into this eternal dance between form and formlessness, and get at some of the comforting truths I've learnt about this dance. I know that no matter what we do in this life, from the point of view of our formless nature, ‘a million years from now, [we're] still ok'."    

The lyrics follow a style of a stream of consciousness, moving quickly from personal memories to philosophical musings. As a whole,"Form" feels like an extended recollection of life, strikingly similar to the famed "life-flashed-before-my-eyes" thought before passing.  

Following this theme of organized chaos, the single's artwork and the sonorities embedded in the track mirror this idea. Chaim's frequent collaborator, Rabitt, plays with the concept of contrast through an inquisitive lens.  

Gritty percussive patterns paradoxically parallel Chaim's euphonious top line melody, as the contrast ultimately flowers into synchronicity in the instrumental break. Rabbit carefully aligns the pieces of the puzzle, a sonic representation of coming into form, while Chaim leaves us with a parting, sanguine reminder: "A million years go by, you're still ok."  

Listen to "Form" below:

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