Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (Matador)
Ambient electronic group Matmos (a.k.a. Bjork's backing band) have built a career out of peculiarity and secrecy, but their latest on Matador, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast takes the cake. On their seventh full-length, the San Franciscan duo have taken the concept album to new heights, dedicating each sound collage to a person who has influenced them. There's a song about Darby Crash (late lead singer of the Germs), Valerie Solanas (famed feminist writer) and even the famous pervert, Boyd McDonald. The best, however, is Matmos's take on William S. Burroughs. The track opens with the clack of a typewriter. Soon a blur of backwards-looped snares join and the typewriter noises swing into a dizzying pulse. I think there's even some excerpts read by Drew Daniel himself.
For a group that is so frequently overpraised, Matmos have really succeeded in making their sound simultaneously captivating and blindingly dissonant. And they actually released an album without bragging about the laundry list of "instruments" used in the making of the record. Here's a list of some of them, straight from the horse's mouth:
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
Right. Anyway, the album is a pleasure to pretend to be intelligent and dance to. Check out a clip and some delicious linkz below:
Matmos - Official Site
Matador Records - Matmos Page
Matmos - "Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan"