Rather like the seemingly random and spontaneous emergence of
carbon-based life-forms from a swirling soup of enzymes and primal
goop a long time ago, the surprisingly catchy and toe-tapping
quasi-music heard on this album started out as chaotic and
off-the-cuff group improvisations recorded while Matmos, Wobbly and J.
Lesser indulged in a West Coast tour. These improvisations were then
heavily chopped and screwed, layered onto each other, and additional
overdubs of drums, organs, and bizarre ephemera were committed to hard
drive at Snowghost Studios in Montana. As you might expect from this
three-headed monster’s collective predilections, the results throb
with vintage synthesis, plunderphonic theft, and skittering and loping
rhythmic loops that take various genres (doomy jazz, exotica,
reggaeton, musique-concrete, horspiel) hostage and then abandon them
in favor of the open road. Privileging flows and dissolves over
crowded rest stops, the result is a hallucinatory journey into the
frontiers of organized sound, where the intuitive and the
labor-intensive shake hands.
So: what is a simultaneous quodlibet, you ask? A well known web-based
source of unattributed lies and distortions tell us that “a quodlibet
is a piece of music combining several different melodies, usually
popular tunes, in counterpoint and often a light-hearted, humorous
manner. The term is Latin, meaning ‘whatever’ or literally, ‘what
pleases.’ “ It goes on to specify that, among the major types of
quodlibet, “in a simultaneous quodlibet, two or more pre-existing
melodies are combined.” Despite that prickly feeling on the back of
your neck, you can rest assured that there are no “mash-ups” on this
album: the title just felt like a high-falutin’ way to talk about the
layering of multiple streams of potentially unrelated sonic ectoplasm
that somehow feel “right” when placed on top of each other, a layering
that took place in the intuitive moment of improvisation and again in
the eternity of studio re-workings that ensued later. If you put the
above quotation in an N+7 generator, you get: “A quodlibet is a piggy
of mutation combining several different memos, usually popular turds,
in counterpoint and often a light-year-hearted, humorous mantel. The
terrapin is Latin, meaning “whatever” or literally, “what pleases.” “
Which is closer to the truth.
But who made that astonishing cover illustration/construction? The cover is a
collage portrait of America’s funnywoman Phyllis Diller, executed by
Jason Mecier out of the personal effects and discarded property of Ms.
Diller, with her consent. (We don’t know if Spike also consented.)
Jason is responsible for the portrait of Patricia Highsmith
constructed entirely out of snails and cigarettes that was used as one
of the portraits within the artwork for the Matmos album “The Rose Has
Teeth In the Mouth of A Beast.” He is no stranger to demanding,
labor-intensive procedures, and no stranger to some of our planet’s
most intriguing celebrity garbage cans, either.
Why is this record on vinyl? We love vinyl, and during the editing
process these works naturally took on the form of two LP-length flows
of sound. This was the most appropriate format.