Album Review: Matmos – Plastic Anniversary

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Artist: Matmos 

Album: Plastic Anniversary 

Genre: IDM/Experimental/Electronic 

Label: Thrill Jockey Records 

Rating: 7.5/10

Just about any object can be used as an instrument. Anything that makes a sound can be utilized in a musical composition. ANYTHING. A washing machine, recordings of bovine uteruses, sperm hitting paper, audio of plastic surgeries, you name it, and though these sound like absurd examples, guess what? Someone has sampled all of these things in their music. “Matmos” is their name, a duo and married couple that produce music comprised of field recordings. The duo have been doing this since the late 90’s with a different theme for each album, creating dark and often surprisingly catchy tunes made up of nothing but field recordings. Their unorthodox approach to recording music has garnered acclaim, and considering how this approach to music could easily become a gimmick or novelty, it’s impressive how they’ve kept our attention after all these years. So what’s the next theme for their new album? Plastic. Oh plastic, how would civilization survive without it? Humans love convenience, and though it’s destroying our environment, we just can’t live without it, because the majority of our products are comprised of the plastic, and of course, “Matmos” have utilized a myriad of plastic objects to create their new album Plastic Anniversary. This album isn’t just the two banging on plastic objects creating only a percussive nature in the vain of “Stomp,” the countless plastic objects are sequenced and manipulated to create loops and layers upon layers of sounds that take the roles of rhythm, melody, and atmosphere. Many plastic objects are utilized like the breaking of vinyl on the opening track “Breaking Bread,” the use of pill capsules and the eerie and ominous tones the two get out of them on the track “The Crying Pill,” and the most captivating of all, the primal sounds created using riot shields which are scraped and banged on on the track “Thermoplastic Riot Shield.” Matmos cleverly show us all how anything can be an instrument. Everything from billiard balls to plastic horns, and the two impressively create whole melodic compositions that aren’t just a bunch of noise. That’s their forte. Field recordings have been used far before “Matmos” came along, but no one has ever utilized this recording method quite like them. Their music is incredibly innovative and they always think outside the box, finding new ways to create music using unorthodox instruments. If they can make you dance to a washing machine, then i’d say they’re IDM’s biggest innovators.

Written By: Steven Sandoval 

Date: 03/20/19

 

 

 

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