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Emperor X

Chad R. Matheny has been making music since 1998, often under the name Emperor X. After training in physics, philosophy, and music composition, Matheny paused academic work and spent much of the past two decades crossing the world on buses and bullet trains to perform hundreds of concerts or compose at locations ranging from a symphony hall in Portugal to basement venues in wartime Ukraine to an abandoned trade fair dome in northern Lebanon. He often tours alone with a guitar and synth, but sometime shares bills with fellow travelers including RatboysThe HotelierThe World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to DieFoxingAJJ and Xiu Xiu. To date he has released eleven albums and more than a dozen odd-format tour-only EPs and one-off singles. Music from some of these recordings appears in the soundtrack of the of the 2014 Warner Bros. film Veronica Mars and has been featured on national radio outlets including Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany and National Public Radio (three times) in the United States.

He co-produced the Sub Pop album Bits by jangle punk legends Oxford Collapse alongside Eric Topalski of Don Caballero and Storm & Stress. He has composed video soundtrack music for labor unions and non-profit organizations including Planned Parenthood and SEIU. In 2011 and 2012, Matheny’s ambient work Keeling Curve was used in a multimedia installation by photographer Joel Sternfeld that was featured in a retrospective exhibition at Museum Folkwang. In addition to his nascent cooperative label project Dreams of Field Recordings with The Hotelier’s Christian Holden, he has worked with several labels including Burnt Toast VinylTiny Engines, and Bar/None Records.

Matheny is a resident of Brieskow-Finkenheerd, a former East German power plant town east of Berlin on the Polish-German border. He is also one of the owner-operators of Donau115, an important node in Berlin’s active jazz/new music/songwriting scene.



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