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Friday 21 August 2020

Matmos Foresaw The Coming Of COVID By Creating A Collage Station To Produce A Kind Of Safari Into The Visual Unconscious

"When quarantine started we turned our dining room table into a 'collage station' and just piled up an enormous amount of paper ephemera that was around the house and started to chop it up and create visual collages with glue-sticks."

Matmos' Drew Daniel is reflecting on the duo's omnivorous approach to making the video for new track No Concept- sculpting contributions from 99 different musicians into a kaleidoscopic piece synchronised at 99bpm, the song translates their new album, The Consuming Flame's, dense audio collages into visual form. 

Described by the band as "a kind of safari into the visual unconscious", No Concept was created using a trashpile of found materials from children's books, historical illustrations, discarded magazines, medical texts, flyers for shows, religious pamphlets, product labels, pornography and found photography, assembled and recontextualised into surprising new forms.

"Pulling from a bank of 50 or so collages, M.C. Schmidt scanned them at high-resolution and then created a kind of 'pan and scan' animation by moving across elements and flying through layers from these collages, effectively creating an animated collage-of collages out of still images. 


"This is a direct visual analogue to the collaborative group collage principle that created the music.

"'No Concept' has elements from people who are from very different musical worlds / styles / scenes / cohorts all playing at the same tempo but unaware of each other's contributions: Twig Harper and clipping. and David Grubbs and Kevin Gan Yuen and Dale Cornish and Matt Waldron and many others have all been snipped and chopped into place. 

"There is 'no concept' other than the endless digressive flow as one thing replaces another which replaces another which replaces another; the purpose is to pull the mind into drooling fascination with change as such, and the slithering world of differences within a constantly similar tempo."

The Consuming Flame's three hour-long movements surge and flow across a shifting kaleidoscope of genre, mood and density, sometimes reaching into entirely new areas, and sometimes gesturing backwards to Matmos' past recorded output and key influences. 

Though the album was mastered and finalised a few months before the coming of COVID, social distancing and quarantine, in certain odd respects its formal gambit of the remote assemblage of contributions from across distance offers a curiously fitting soundtrack for the 'group forms' we now assemble together across platforms and media. 

Tender, funny, strange and ultimately oddly moving, The Consuming Flame shows Matmos bringing diverse people together around a steady pulse. 

It's a relay race across the gaps in genre and experience that divide us.

Matmos' new album 'The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form' is released on 21st August 2020. CLICK HERE to pre-order. 

by: Mike Cobley




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