Matmos, “Ultimate Care II”
Ultimate Care II
A new Matmos album does not come with the usual pull quotes. There is no “this is a return to our earlier work.” There is not a whiff of “this is my New York album.” Instead, the musical scientists Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt create anachronistic puzzles for themselves and solve them in a way that are, in the very least, completely fascinating conceptually. The guiding question here: how do you make a nearly forty-minute piece of music comprising only the sounds of a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine? The group’s concepts have previously included parapsychology, the Civil War, and the sound of liposuction procedures, so this actually feels relatively tame for their sonic inventory. Listening, however, is another matter. This album is a heavy and blasted tapestry of rhythmic clanging and layered whirrs. A compositional wonder, Ultimate Care II mixes mechanical clatter and sublime melody (the latter often built from the former) in a way that would blow the Maytag Man’s (and honestly, anyone’s) gourd.