Matmos, The Ganzfeld EP

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Matmos celebrate 20 years with an EP that continues to embrace difficult musical concepts.

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Jason Randall Smith | November 19, 2012

Matmos, The Ganzfeld EP [Thrill Jockey]

The inclusion of Matmos to the Thrill Jockey roster is all too fitting for both the duo and the record label. As Thrill Jockey celebrates their twentieth anniversary, Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt can also raise glasses to making music for the same amount of time. Throughout their harmonic relationship, the steps they make towards acquiring sounds and arranging them into compositions has never been an easy road. The Ganzfeld EP is no exception, culling source material from the test subjects of psychic experiments, resulting in truly mental music.

“Very Large Green Triangles (Edit)” is exceptional in capturing the psychological and squeezing it through orchestral swells, striking a strange balance between the avant- garde and the accessible. Pronounced percussion cues and fractured mutterings give way to jittery break beats and excitable bells, finding locked grooves skating across a medical laboratory floor. The pops of squishy suction cups add a peculiar accent to already suspenseful strings and dramatic vocals, making for a rather disorienting listen. Meanwhile, the Rrose Mix of “You” heads straight for the dance floor by means of a dark minimal techno blueprint. Its repetitive stomp provides the anchor for quick drum rolls and pulsating mechanics to wrap themselves around the song's skeletal frame.

The ultimate experiment is presented with “Just Waves,” a 12-minute meditation built from vocal reactions to various stimuli. Test transcripts become lyric sheets as the reactions are sung in monotone melodies. Daniel and Schmidt are joined by Dan Deacon, Clodagh Simonds, and Angel Deradoorian, all singing in different pitches. The sustained notes of an organ are the only accompaniment, causing this piece to be absurd and angelic all at once. Once again Matmos has made it easy to embrace difficult musical concepts, prepping us in advance for the full-length journey to descend upon us all in 2013.

 
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