On Deck is a column dedicated to giving artists some room to talk about what they’re currently listening to and to explore some of their favorite and most influential records.
The duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, aka Matmos, have been peddling their electronic wares since the late 90′s and have never copped to any one particular fad or trend, always following whatever musical muse were leading them at any given moment. For their upcoming release The Marriage of True Minds out on Thrill Jockey in February, they conducted para-psychological experiments based upon the classic Ganzfeld experiment, with a few custom tweaks. The resulting data was used in the construction of the nine songs which make up the record. And according to the Thrill Jockey website, “this is the first electronic album to start with tap dancing and end with doom metal.” Drew Daniel was kind enough to take some time from his schedule and write about some of the music that has influenced him and which has been making the rounds in his musical routine lately.
Benjamin Lew & Stephen Brown – Douzième Journée: Le Verbe, La Parure, L’Amour LP (Crammed Discs)
A few years ago Ian Nagoski hipped me to this record, and I find lately that I cannot stop playing it, especially the hypnotically heavy opening number, “Bamako Ou Ailleurs.” Released by the Belgian Crammed Discs label in 1982, this is a record of smoky, mysterious textures that straddles the line between post-industrial music, cryptic jazz, and dub. Everytime I DJ this track, people come up to me and ask what it is, and they think it’s Demdike Stare or something of that provenance- and it hits the same pleasure centers as Demdike but from a different time entirely. A seriously underrated gem.
Eli Keszler / Keith Fullerton Whitman split 12” (NNA Tapes)
This two headed monster pairs a percussionist with a living treasure of modular synthesis—which shouldn’t work, moodwise—but instead of being a car crash, there’s a curious sense of parallel evolution at work in the feeling and flow of both sides. Whether in the air or on the wires, the busy scramble of perpetual re-invention is what hits you first with each side, and then, as you realize how much control and care is behind each gesture, the record becomes a weird double-exposure of two people who model a really ferocious commitment to their instrument’s affordances. Dope.
Horse Lords – Horse Lords (Ehse Records)
Is it nepotistic that we love the debut album by our friends who practice in our basement? Well, full disclosure: maybe it is, but we do. This band manages to reinvent the guitar / bass / drums template by playing crazy funky sweaty longform tunes (maybe Fela-esque) in . . . just intonation, a tuning system usually reserved for the wonkier ends of new music composition. The result is something at once catchy and jarring. They are already ruling sweaty Baltimore warehouse shows but I suspect that people from other scenes are going to catch on quick.
Jeremih Feat. Fabolous – “Ahh Shit” (Dat Piff online free mixtape)
This is a track from Jeremih’s mixtape “Late Nights with Jeremih.” I don’t know what producer Sak Pase is sampling here, but there’s this weirdly menacing guitar line that keeps sidling in and out of the mix that sounds like The Police- in a good way, mind – and when the dreary smears of pitched-down police sirens join in, there seems to be a theme brewing: the anxiety that curdles just on the other side of having an awesome time. When Fabolous says “It’s going down like elevators to where the lobby is,” I’m completely smitten.
A red balloon (Office Depot)
Some friends of ours (including one Horse Lord) have been working an odd job cleaning out a Baltimore house once occupied by a seriously crazy hoarder, and M. C. went over to help out one day. The rooms are packed to the ceiling with weird objects, but for some reason M. C. was particularly taken by a sack of red balloons with the OFFICE DEPOT logo on them. For the past week he’s been playing these balloons, making ridiculous noise solos with them, shooting video of himself manipulating them, and creating a new Matmos video piece out of the results. So definitely the sound of the balloon is in our top five this week.
Be sure to check out Matmos’ upcoming release The Marriage of True Minds out February 19th via Thrill Jockey Records.
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