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Matmos | The Civil War | review | electro | Lollipop

Matmos

The Civil War (Matador)
by Tim Den

Talk about a fucking resumé... The electronic duo Matmos have 1) wowed Björk to the point of becoming her permanent creative partners, 2) made an album entirely out of surgical sounds, 3) taught seminars at Harvard on sound art, 4) had pieces in the Whitney Museum of American Art, 5) scored the soundtracks to five gay porn films, and 6) now created an album that somehow crosses the most crystalline editing techniques with Civil War-themed instruments (yes, the Civil War, as in tubas and banjos and the smell of death in the wind) and Medieval English hymns. "What the hell are you talking about," you say? Imagine recording the sounds of a bustling Castle Nottingham circa 1500, hiring avant-garde German sound experimentalist Oval to contort the crap out of the recordings on his laptop, getting two of The Radar Bros. to lend some Southern Gothic lap steel over the top of it, and then add some - oh, I don't know - samples of blood flowing in veins to the mix, and you've pretty much got The Civil War. As demented and purposefully hilarious as the concoction sounds, Matmos glitch their way through autumn battlefields of the 1860s via Canterbury Tales, bleeping and blooping and fuzzing and squealing with ancient synths as if it was a birthday party for lunatics. And while it sure as hell ain't "relaxing" or "driving" (or "going out," "making dinner," "background," "NOT going fucking insane") music, The Civil War is astonishing, if just for its highly-original concept and execution. Name another record that whips you through time and space while making you laugh. I dare ya.
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