Matmos CD reviewed by Daniel House
Jul 1, 2008, 07:02
MATMOS The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast CD
San Francisco-based duo Matmos have had a fascinating career, releasing records for a solid ten years, but perhaps better known in the digital underground as the beat purveyors for Bjork's innovative live shows. They are masters of sound manipulation, creating intriguing electronic soundscapes using a mix of traditional instrumentation with some of the most unlikely and unidentifiable samples imaginable. Matmos are consummate deconstructionists creating aural soundtracks that conjure up cinematic visuals that are often somber and mechanical, while at other times hypnotic and mesmerizing.
The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast is a collection of ten songs, each an homage/portrait of a different famous or infamous queer in history including Valerie Solanas, Darby Crash, William S. Burroughs, and even King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Each track explores a wide spectrum of texture and feel, not just between songs, but often within the same composition.
“Germs Burn For Darby Crash” makes me reminisce the eerie hisses and insect-like sounds of Eraserhead, while the main theme of “Solo Buttons For Joe Meek” comes off like a lost 007 knockoff from the Italian Spaghetti western factory of the '60s. “Semen Song For James Bidgood” is a lush and mysterious ambient track that conjures up the very best of Harold Budd, while “Rag For William S. Burroughs” serves a driving tribal rhythmic drone evoking Muslimgauze at their most brilliant.
Some of the tracks (“Public Sex For Boyd McDonald”) are as close as Matmos will ever get to a dance floor track. Nervous and dreamlike, the song eventually slips into an odd cocktail break which eventually just slips off into sleep.
The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast is certainly not good fodder for steadfast fans of song-craft, but for those readers who appreciate the likes of John Oswald, Jeff Grienke, Coil, Lull or Rhythm & Noise, this is a band that is well worth the devotion. [Matador]