Matmos — Plastic Anniversary (March 15, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)⊗⇑⊗      Albem Plastic Anniversary Drew Daniel a M.C. Schmidt slaví 25 let romantického a kreativního partnerství. I když by to mohlo být stříbrné výročí pro téměř každý jiný pár, v tomto případě je plast mnohem vhodnější: Nejenže to odráží trvanlivost jejich vztahu, ale odráží odhodlání k transformaci v srdci jejich hudby. Stejně jako u vzorků praček Ultimate Care II, Schmidt a Daniel zkoumají potenciál každodenních předmětů — v tomto případě plastové nádobí a nádoby, které nás obklopují — ale tentokrát místo toho rozdělují své experimenty na tzv. ‘poppy’, přístupné stopy jednoho zdlouhavého prohlášení. Vtipný kulturní komentář byl vždy jednou z největších silných stránek Matmosu a přináší spoustu toho, co spojuje zvuky odvozené z plastu s připomenutím jeho trvalého dopadu na životní prostředí. Duo se dnes vrací s jiným konceptem, který zasáhne mnohem tvrději: plast. Album je hymnou pro jednu z hlavních příčin znečištění planety ve všech jejích různých podobách. Takže sem přicházejí potrubí z PVC, bublinkový obal a polystyrén. Ale to není všechno, Matmos také zkoumá zvuk z prsních implantátů ze silikonového gelu a dokonce i ze syntetického lidského tuku! Všechny tyto „nástroje“ tvoří strukturu naší reality. Materiály, které bychom mohli použít v našem každodenním životě, a to je způsob, jakým může Plastic Anniversary přijít se známou tonalitou.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Studio: Snowghost Studios (Whitefish, MT)
Album release: March 15, 2019
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
Duration:     40:17
01. Breaking Bread   2:27
02. The Crying Pill   4:24
03. Interior With Billiard Balls & Synthetic Fat   4:12
04. Extending The Plastisphere To GJ237b   0:10
05. Silicone Gel Implant   4:31
06. Plastic Anniversary   4:06
07. Thermoplastic Riot Shield   4:05
08. Fanfare For Polyethylene Waste Containers   4:00
09. The Singing Tube   2:59
10. Collapse Of The Fourth Kingdom   5:02
11. Plastisphere   4:21
⊗   Brett Allen   Engineer
⊗   Rashad Becker   Mastering
⊗   Mitchell Brown   Echo
⊗   Jeff Carey   Pre~Mastering
⊗   Jeremy Carnagey   Trombone
⊗   Drew Daniel   Editing, Mixing, Sampling, Sequencing, Whistle
⊗   Eric Holdhusen   Trumpet
⊗   Chris Jordan   Back Cover Photo
⊗   Brooks Kossover   Ocarina, Pan Flute
⊗   Joe Leidecker   Processing
⊗   Ted Mineo   Cover Photo, Photography
⊗   Port Nugent   Trombone
⊗   Ethan Potthoff   Soloist
⊗   Greg Saunier   Percussion
⊗   Martin C. Schmidt   Bodhran, Editing, Flute, Mixing, Objects, Pipe, Processing, Sampling, Software
⊗   Wyatt Scott   Soloist
⊗   Harry Walker   Bass
Production Details:
⊗⇑⊗   Plastic Anniversary was pre~mastered by extreme digital sound artist Jeff Carey.
⊗⇑⊗   Mastered for vinyl by the renowned mastering engineer Rashad Becker.
⊗⇑⊗   Cover art, which collages high resolution, up~close photographs of the objects used to create the music, is by Ted Mineo, the creator of the cover art for Ultimate Care II.
⊗⇑⊗   Back cover image by photographer and activist Chris Jordan depicts the plastic contents from the stomach of a Laysan albatross photographed in an atoll near the Pacific Ocean Plastic Gyre.
⊗⇑⊗   Matmos will be touring World Wide throughout 2019.
⊗⇑⊗   Drew and Martin celebrated their 25th while making the album.
⊗⇑⊗      Thrill Jockey Records is pleased to announce Plastic Anniversary, the new album by Baltimore~based electronic duo Matmos. Pushing off from the restricted palette of their last album, the critically acclaimed Ultimate Care II, which was composed entirely from the sound of a washing machine, Plastic Anniversary is also derived from a single sound source: plastic.
⊗⇑⊗     At once hyper~familiar in its omnipresence and deeply inhuman in its measured~in~centuries longevity and endurance, plastic supplies, surrounds and scares. Seemingly negligible, plastic is always ready to hand but also always somewhat suspect, casting toxic shadows onto the everyday. True to form, the band have assembled a promiscuous array of examples of this sturdy~yet~ersatz family of materials: Bakelite dominos, Styrofoam coolers, polyethylene waste containers, PVC panpipes, pinpricks of bubble wrap, silicone gel breast implants and synthetic human fat.
⊗⇑⊗     Though it has the tight editing chops, pop forms and bizarre sound palette of their early albums such as Quasi~Objects and A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure, Plastic Anniversary has a distinctive sound because of the foregrounding of plastic horns and plastic drums played by human beings. The bounce and snap of the duo’s programmed rhythms are here supplemented by a sweatier and more unruly human element provided by a surprising cast of guest musicians. Members of the horn and drumline sections of the Whitefish Highschool Bulldogs from Whitefish, Montana were recruited by Matmos and persuaded to take part in recording sessions at Snowghost Studios where they played objects sourced from a nearby recycling center, including massive plastic garbage bins. This was later combined with additional plastic percussion performances by Greg Saunier, a drummer known for his hyper~expressive, mercurial playing as a founding member of the band Deerhoof.
⊗⇑⊗     Taking the concept of “broken beat” literally, “Breaking Bread” is a bouncy digital dancehall number built entirely out of the plucked and twanged fragments of broken vinyl records by the Seventies soft rock group Bread. A mini~suite for plastic container, exercise ball and an amplified DNA kit that recalls both 80s pop and the hectic minimalism of Michael Nyman, “The Crying Pill” stacks frantic patterns of saxophone~like sobs onto deep sub bass stabs that are almost trap. Amplifying squishy synthetic human tissue created by the SynDaver corporation as a substitute for human corpses in medical schools, “Interior with Billiard Balls & Synthetic Fat” pairs squelchy electro made out of gross~out substances with tangy melodic riffs. This odd combination of Cronenbergian body~horror and sunny grooves continues on “Silicone Gel Implant”, a skanking number that works rubbery basslines out of, yes, a breast implant, but by the time the plastic flutes snake into the mix, the source becomes secondary to the trance~like form. Side one closes in a more reflective and somber key, with the title track “Plastic Anniversary”, whose cod~medieval martial drums and horn fanfares recall Matmos’ penchant for anachronism circa “The Civil War” before giving way to a close~mic~ed cascade of plastic poker chips.
⊗⇑⊗     If side one is playful and poppy, side two is sharper and darker in its implications, and features more live drumming than any other Matmos album. Things kick off with “Thermoplastic Riot Shield” a single~object study built entirely out of the sound of a police riot shield being stroked, rubbed and struck. The resulting sounds are processed into a tense assemblage of harsh noise, deep dub basslines and jarring cuts of silence. On a squeaky loop straight out of a Jacques Tati film, “The Singing Tube” draws out the pinging resonance of a ten foot long PVC pipe played entirely with plastic toilet brushes, and hits a flanged overtone effect not unlike the string compositions of Arnold Dreyblatt. Bristling with whistles and noisemakers and plastic~gloved handclaps, “Collapse of the Fourth Kingdom” bolts a percussive showcase for the high school marching band playing the signature patterns of drumline and Baltimore club onto jarring edits of LEGO bricks clicking into place and weird smears of processed plastic horns. Since plastic was described by its first developers as a “fourth kingdom” beyond animal, vegetable, and mineral, this track heralds the eventual collapse of the political economy that birthed the oceans of garbage that now choke our world. Thinking the dystopian consequences of plastic through to their post~human conclusion, the final track, “Plastisphere” sounds like a field recording of insects and birds and pattering rain and ocean waves, but is in fact a work of digital sleight of hand: every single sound on this track has been artificially constructed out of samples of bubble wrap, Velcro, plastic bags and straws and, tellingly, an emergency stretcher. After a volatile and vibrant suite of poppy plastic electronics, Plastic Anniversary ends in an acknowledgement of the planetary price yet to be paid.
by Mark Richardson, MARCH 19 2019. Score: 7.6
⊗⇑⊗       Recorded using only plastic material, the concept of the latest Matmos album is undergirded by the compositional integrity, the quality of the sound, and the sickeningly beautiful idea of it all.
⊗⇑⊗       Each Matmos album has a concept of some kind — music paying tribute to queer icons, music made from the sounds of an operating room, music made through telepathy. It’s easy to get caught up in the audacity of it all and marvel at how formal limitations can lead to such emotional work. The knowledge that, say, a deeply moving piece of drone music was sourced from the sound of a bow drawn across the wires of a rat’s cage — empty, because the rat had recently died — has several layers of poignancy. You can enjoy the shriek as sound, enjoy it as concept, enjoy it for the pictures the contextual information, like its title “For Felix (And All the Rats),” puts into your head. And on top of that, Matmos make you hear — really hear — the materials used for their music’s creation. Beyond how they are transformed into music, there is a sense that objects and ideas have sonic properties as distinctive as fingerprints.
⊗⇑⊗       For their new album, Plastic Anniversary, Matmos tackle the ubiquitous material named in the title. We already know that plastic has a sound. On the one hand, “plastic” means “fake,” and music described as such is thought to be cheap, artificial. And yet creative uses of plastic are everywhere. The sound of plastic makes me think of a familiar sound of the city — kids on the street who play drums on buckets. I think of Ornette Coleman, who played a plastic saxophone throughout his rise in the 1950s and ’60s, at first because it was more affordable, and later because he came to prefer its harsher tone, which he felt made it sound closer to the human voice. Plastic leaves space for ingenuity, because it’s constantly being repurposed, and it’s constantly being repurposed because it never goes away. Plastic objects will retain their structural integrity long after our bodies have withered into dust.
⊗⇑⊗       So the material is a natural fit for a Matmos album, and Plastic Anniversary makes you realize that the sound of plastic is wider than you might have imagined. It is bouncy, percussion~heavy, and tuneful, with the group’s playful rhythmic sense in the foreground. On “Fanfare for Polyethylene Waste Containers,” they enlisted the drumline from Montana’s Whitefish High School Marching Band for a rolling beat on garbage cans, while a cast of musicians plays an ominous descending theme on plastic horns. The album’s gorgeous title track also includes plastic wind instruments but goes from a bittersweet lament to a rollicking overture. These tracks hint at orchestral music, while “Silicone Gel Implant” and “Extending the Plastisphere to GJ237b” both have elements of early electro, with percolating sequencers and squelchy lead melodies.
⊗⇑⊗       With the help of Catalonia Institute of Space Studies, a version of the latter track was beamed from a high~power radio tower in the direction of the named star system. The liner notes spelling out the how and why of Plastic Anniversary show gestures that range from simply playful (the sounds on “Breaking Bread” were recorded as the group destroyed records made by the easy listening group of the same name) to the pointed (“Thermoplastic Riot Shield” was sourced from recordings of a device used by the Albuquerque Police Department, and includes links to information about how to make riot shields inoperable), and as the sounds and references pile up the album becomes a mass of possibilities, each pointing toward ideas to explore in more detail later.
⊗⇑⊗       There’s always a risk that an album like this one will be received as novelty music, but the compositional integrity is there, and the music is engaging purely on the level of sound. But Plastic Anniversary’s ultimate resonance comes when you take in everything — ideas, sounds, images, links. On the album’s back cover is a heartbreaking photograph of a sea bird decaying on a beach, its body almost gone while the plastic material that had been in its stomach — and presumably had caused its death — remains. The colors are sickeningly beautiful, like this album at its best.  ⊗⇑⊗ 
Also Chris Randle; Score 7.8: 


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