Matmos have 99 collaborators but a bore ain’t oneSalem Collo-Julinon August 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Baltimore experimental electronic duo Matmos have released a steady stream of albums over their 25 years, many of which feature guest artists, but on the new The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form they’ve brought in enough collaborators to fill a house party. They made the album in part from submissions by 99 musicians Matmos had invited to send virtually any sound recording of their choice, as long as it had a tempo of 99 beats per minute. Founding members Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt processed and integrated those recordings into a sound collage that somewhat resembles Matmos’s original music: a glorious collection of sound arcs that tangle with EDM, make pit stops in plunderphonics, and sometimes even include serene moments of melody. The Consuming Flame could present an endurance challenge for even the most ardent Matmos fans, given that it runs three hours in its entirety. The album is being released as a three-CD set and a 44-track streamable digital album, but savvy listeners will want to pick up the physical version, since it comes with a two-by-three-foot color poster that lists the complicated timeline of the incorporated submissions, complete with notes and timestamps. Matmos’s guests span a number of scenes: they include Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, Pig Destroyer’s Blake Harrison, electronic artists J. Lesser and Vicki Bennett, and students from a Sound as Music course that Schmidt taught at the defunct San Francisco Art Institute. Matmos already welcomed found sound and aural experimentation, but with The Consuming Flame they’ve truly embraced the principles of making music with others. v

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