Matmos The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises In Group Form Thrill Jockey
Matmos has built a career on untraditional sampling techniques and building subversive sonic narratives out of the physical and cultural properties of these sounds. This idiosyncratic approach was perhaps best realised on 2006’s The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of a Beast, which was crafted from samples relating to various LGBTQ+ icons – a dizzying blend of gunshots and typewriters embodying the spirit of William Burroughs, for example.
The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises In Group Form follows this conceptual tradition. For the creation of the three-hour-long release consisting of 44 tracks, Matmos invited 99 contributors to record whatever they wanted – all at 99 BPM. The pair then stitched together these divergent sound sketches, in a relatively loose, freestyle manner.
The result is an avant-garde joyride of different moods to a consistent pulse, articulated over a landscape of expressions from musique concrète to sound collage and free jazz.
On the track Warm Opening, Oneohtrix Point Never entrancingly intertwines glitchy, spaceship control room-esque whir with cascading, digitised harp-like tones resembling moments from his Age Of album. Unmastering, featuring Rabit, stands out with a refreshing double-time breakbeat against sword-sharpening clangs. While these distinct moments might not share enough similarities as to make them feel part of a whole, they nonetheless approach the brief with the same spirit.
The Consuming Flame delivers on its revolving door conceptual approach to collaboration even if the results are a little less than cohesive. Then again, how could one expect an album themed around a two decimal place number to be a concise statement?