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Matmos - Supreme Balloon (2008) Retail CD
Be forewarned: Matmos has embraced synth, and every burp, blip and wave that comes with it.
In fact, their latest album "Supreme Balloon" is inflated to maximum with endless quantities of synth, and they seem pretty determined to use every last shred. And while not as endearing as their more organic past work, it does sound like a maddened musician was let loose in a room full of computers -- wonky, silly and lightheartedly spacey.
It opens with a weird fluttery noise... which turns out to be a beat that runs throughout "Rainbow Flag." No real vocals here -- just a weird frolicksome beat thatmore… sounds like a video game in the middle of an acid trip. About two-thirds of the way through, some little trippy fairy voices join in the song, getting shriller as the wonky song winds down.
Then they take the exact opposite approach with "Polychords" -- this one is all electronic stomp, which devolves into a spacey, grim trip riddled with shimmery moog. And then we get all kinds of intensely synthy weirdness -- chirpy schizophrenic dancepop, a prolonged quiver of echoing synth, and a spacey little electro-ambient ballad that just sort of floats off. It sounds like a bunch of stoned aliens abducting people.
There's also a twenty-five-minute-long title track, whose apparent ambition is to cram every kind of compatible electronic music into one... long... song. It opens with a sort of growly bubbling sound, and evolves through electronic pop to trippy dance, from wonky experimental stuff back to a sort of odd growly space-electrorock.
Frankly it took me a LONG time to figure out if I even liked "Supreme Balloon" -- upon hearing the first sharp electronic blips, my first thought was, "Good Lord, I need to go listen to an album about roses having teeth in the mouth of a beast!"
But after I listened to the first few songs -- and yes, even the gargantuan title track -- I started to like it. There's a sunny, weird exuberance to this music, as if you're watching a bunch of mildly insane robots having some kind of festival. There are moments of excessive artiness, but their brand of techno manages to be both fun and extremely strange at the same time.
And the synthesizers do a pretty wild job here -- they flutter, dart, screech, chirp like a cricket, pop, squirt, blip, burp, slurp, shimmer and squiggle. We have everything from waves of stately mellotron to grimy stomping synth, eruptions of video-game carnival sounds to a stretch of gentle, wintry ambient music. Yet gods, I'm not even sure what half these sounds come from.
The most daunting of all these songs is undoubtedly the title track, with its half-hour runtime and ever-shifting sound. But as eccentric as this song is, it really shows the expanse of what Matmos can do, even with restricted instruments.
Matmos' first venture into pure, unadulterated synth is a risky one, and the result isn't their best work. But "Supreme Balloon" has a weird, sunny charm all its own.
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- Matmos - Supreme Balloon (2008) Retail CD
- 1368 x 1361 px
- 193 KB
- 10 (0 today)
- 23/06/11 by ssvril
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