One year after Plastic Anniversary, Baltimore-based duo Matmos have announced the release of a new album. The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form will be out on August 21st via Thrill Jockey. It features Oneontrix Point Never, Yo La Tengo, Giant Swan, Marisa Anderson and more, all synchronised at a steady tempo of 99 beats per minute.
Oriented around a deceptively simple idea, the album features contributions from 99 different musicians, all given only one simple instruction: they could play anything that they wanted, but the tempo of any rhythmic material had to be set at 99 beats per minute. The resulting album is a three-hour long assemblage that travels across a shifting kaleidoscope of genre, mood and density, all synchronized to a constant underlying tempo.
“No Concept” is the first excerpt. 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 recontextualized into surprising new forms.
Drew Daniel elaborates on the making of “No Concept”: “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. 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.”
Watch it below.