This is (it says here) the new album from “renowned conceptual electronics duo” Matmos; Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt.
Renowned they may be, conceptual they certainly are. This is a continuous, thirty-eight minute collage of sampled sounds from the washing machine in their basement. Reading the text, then, you might be put off, thinking it to be nothing but art-wank of little or no musical consequence. I was prepared to give it a good kicking. But I’m absolutely hooked by it. This is art-wank of surprising musical consequence. Some of it sounds almost old-school analogue synth, some of it has cavernous and pummeling beats. Some of it sounds like Jetsons soundtracks. A lot of it is pretty damn funny, like Goon Show effects. I think you’d be giggling like a fool listening to it on medically-prescribed rhythm cigarettes. Or better, acid. How I wish I had some more of that. Actually, a lot of this is like the brain music you hear/see on acid. But don’t let that put you off, either, because what this is, right, what this is, against all the odds, right, is fantastically entertaining. It’s very composed, too, this is isn’t random art-wank, it’s thematic art-wank, with real dynamics and mood changes. Musical.
Back when Pink Floyd still made albums you wanted to be seen carrying into the uni bar, they mooted plans to make an album of music made entirely by household objects. This isn’t the Ron Geesin soundtrack The Body I’m talking about, this is the aborted album called Household Sounds or whatever. So there’s nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes. But I don’t think I’ll ever hear a better album made by a washing machine and a couple of art-wank conceptualists in a basement.
I want to hear what they’d do with an expresso machine.