Heinali and Matt Finney are a transcontinental avant-garde electronic music project consisting of Ukranian composer Oleg Shpudeiko (Heinali) and Alabama-based spoken word poet Matt Finney. Their new album, How We Lived (their first for The Flenser), sees the duo return with their first release since 2011. Like their prior collaborations, Heinali provides a lush, foreboding soundtrack to Matt Finney's bleak narrations, but How We Lived demonstrates a more considered approach. The result is four long tracks which are denser and more cogent than anything they've released in the past. Matt Finney provides his most intimate and harrowing words to date, evoking the type anguish and enmity that only someone who has probed the depths of despair can.
The duo first met online in 2010 and immediately began collaborating on their first EP. From there they established a prolific working relationship, recording and releasing a series of albums and EPs over the next two years. After the release of 2011's Ain't No Night, Matt Finney found himself in a bad place. A series of misfortunes, including familial illness, the death of his biological father, a miscarriage, and the failed release of their follow up album, drove him to drugs and alcohol. For the next two years he lived in a trailer as far away from society as he could get, where he languished in misery and rage. He gave up writing and human contact entirely. Eventually, his head cleared enough for him to realize how much his past work with Heinali had helped him deal with life's seemingly endless disappointments, and he emerged from his self-imposed exile eager to feel that catharsis again. The duo reconnected and began collaborating on new material. How We Lived is the result of those missing years.