IDM as art. Archly American. That’s Matmos. Music for the head not the heart.

Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, aided and abetted by many others. Daniel is a UC Berkeley graduate student in Renaissance Literature and a longtime radio and club DJ who has collaborated on both film scores and hip hop projects with Louisville musicians Jason Noble (Rachel’s) and Jeff Mueller (June of 44). Schmidt manages the conceptual art department of the San Francisco Art Institute and has pursued a number of experimental and/or electronic projects in the past. In their recordings and live performances over the last eleven years, Matmos have used the sounds of: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, a bowed five string banjo, slowed down whistles and kisses, water hitting copper plates, the runout groove of a vinyl record, a $5.00 electric guitar, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, violins, rat cages, tanks of helium, violas, human skulls, cellos, peck horns, tubas, cards shuffling, field recordings of conversations in hot tubs, frequency response tests for defective hearing aids, a steel guitar recorded in a sewer, electrical interference generated by laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions and balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones on a dinner plate, Polish trains, insects, ukelele, aspirin tablets hitting a drum kit from across the room, dogs barking, people reading aloud, life support systems and inflatable blankets, records chosen by the roll of dice, an acupuncture point detector conducting electrical current through human skin, rock salt crunching underfoot, solid gold coins spinning on bars of solid silver, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal.

Their nearest UK equivalent is the multi-talented Matthew Herbert. I hope I’m not being simplistically nationalistic but I can handle Matthew’s music being composed from burping or torn up newspaper. But Matmos leave me cold and unengaged. Here’s a selection covering more than 10 years, from the early Great Northern Electrics to their own later work. And whaddayaknow, a Herbert remix as Dr Rockit:
Matmos – Dr Rockit’s Surgery with Complications
Great Northern Electrics – Sunday’s Child (Matmos Mix) hmmn…this may not be remixed by them. But I’ll leave it as a curio.
Matmos – California Rhinoplasty
Matmos – Action At A Distance

~ by acidted on September 22, 2009.

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