We have worked very hard, placed mics just so, applied occult technologies, commissioned artwork and videos: the season of Ultimate Care has begun. Here is information about it, and how to order it, and some illustrations to help you understand.
Ultimate Care II is the new album from renowned conceptual electronics duo Matmos (Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt). Recorded in the basement studio of their home in Baltimore, the album is constructed entirely out of the sounds generated by a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II model washing machine. Like its namesake, the album runs across its variations as a single, continuous thirty eight minute experience that starts with the grinding turn of the wash size selection wheel, and ends with the alert noise that signals that the wash is done. Between these audio-verité book-ends, we experience an exploded view of the machine, hearing it in normal operation, but also as an object being rubbed and stroked and drummed upon and prodded and sampled and sequenced and processed by the duo, with some occasional extra help from an ultra-local crew of guest stars (some of whom regularly do laundry chez Matmos). Dan Deacon, Max Eilbacher (Horse Lords), Sam Haberman (Horse Lords), Jason Willett (Half Japanese), and Duncan Moore (Needle Gun) all took part, either playing the machine like a drum, processing its audio, or sending MIDI data to the duo’s samplers. The vocabulary of the Ultimate Care II, its rhythmic chugs, spin cycle drones, rinse cycle splashes, metallic clanks and electronic beeps are parsed into an eclectic syntax of diverse musical genres. The result is a suite of rhythmic, melodic and drone-based compositions that morph dramatically, but remain fanatically centered upon their single, original sound source.
In a visual analogue to the recording process, the artwork for the album is constructed entirely out of photographs of the machine in question shot in its natural habitat and then digitally manipulated by New York artist Ted Mineo. Lending trunk-rattling low end and sharp high frequencies, Rashad Becker mastered the album at D&M in Berlin. San Francisco motion graphics firm L-inc, who created the “Very Large Green Triangles” video for Matmos’ last album, “The Marriage of True Minds”, are slated to create a video to accompany Ultimate Care II. The duo will be performing in the United States and Europe to celebrate the release. The washing machine was not available for comment.
Thrill Jockey Records are our partners in getting this work to the world, please pre-order, with special incentives, here:
If you happen to be in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, in England, this is more than an album, it’s a live interactive experience of sound and place. We made these pieces to be listened to on headphones in Chalkwell Park surrounding the Chalkwell House, home to Metal, a local arts establishment, there. You download this app onto your phone and then go to the park and follow the instructions provided by us.
If you DON’T happen to be lucky enough to live or be on holiday in lovely Southend-on-Sea, (and it IS lovely) you can also listen to these pieces by downloading the app and…figuring out how to listen to it…in “armchair mode”. Experiencialate! Listensperience!
This summer sees us travelling around to make it convenient for certain people, the BEST people, in certain places to experience our sound work and world.
The special people this summer live in London-ish, England, Lisbon, Portugal, Braga, Portugal and Japan.
Starting June 15th we will be “in residence” at Metal, a gallery in Southend-on-Sea. We will create special site specific works to be experienced in the park there. It WILL be good enough for the people of London to get on a train and spend some time in the park there (and in the EXTRA-there we will create) eat a light meal and make it home before Game of Thrones comes on, or whatever. It will be MUCH more convenient and enjoyable, of course, for the people who already live in Southend! At some point, as yet undetermined, we will do an informal artist-talk at Metal. Perhaps this would be a good day for people to come early, enjoy some of the there there and then hear us talk about it! We may also play live…no one is certain…it’s a residential…flow…right? Matmos will leave Metal June 24th and go to
and on the 26th we will do a workshop! We will talk about how we make “music” and why, and why we make the decisions we do. If, perhaps you make electronic music of your own, bring it, maybe on a flash drive, and we can listen to it together and talk about it.
Then we pop back to London and will speak at Goldsmiths on July 1st…the details of this at the time of this writing are not worked out. I’m sure you and your pocket-computer could work it out together! Do come! We will talk, play sound work, and answer and ask questions.
Then we have a bit of time back in the loving sweaty arms of mother-Baltimore and then we’re off to
J A P A N
July 16 -25 Many venues, and kinds of venues, from bookstores to sweaty punk clubs, from private performances in love-motels to helicopter air-drops on the very very top of Mt. Fuji. Some of these are LIES. We will be salty AND sweet. Bruising AND massaging gently. HOT, with pepper. Matomosu!! Almost all shows are WITH the gentle super genius of pain, JEFF CAREY! But anyway, here’s the website:
Max Eilbacher helped by leaving a lot of files on my computer which I used as original footage (the VHS stuff at the beginning, which neither of us recognizes, which MIGHT be the French Canadian laff-riot “Juste pour rire“.) and as key-sources. Buy their album! It’s really really good!
Batu Malablab works a dislocating magic, indulging in a tradition of western fantasy of non-western music. Recalling gamelon-inspired experimental classics such as John Cage’s prepared piano work, Can’s “Ethnological Forgery Series” and Jon Hassell’s “Fourth World” ambient music, Batu Malablab is imaginary global music made in the Baltimore basement studio pictured on the back of the LP/CD.
You will enjoy owning your own copy, and listening to it. Perfect for the oncoming summer, and every summer after that. There will only be 500 of these.