Published Feb 17, 2016Throughout their long, prolific and adventurous career, Matmos have crafted engrossing art based on thought-provoking and often bizarre themes such as creating records from field recordings, sampling medical instruments or using ESP to transmit song ideas to one other. But Ultimate Care II may be the duo's most out-there album yet, purely because of the perceived banality behind its very concept. Recorded in their basement, the duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt constructed this single-track, 40-minute album entirely from sounds made by their Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine.
Like much of Matmos' work, due to the fact that they often integrate organic sounds, their ninth LP is largely based on analog rhythms, but the Baltimore duo have managed to give Ultimate Care II an aural and melodic depth not always present throughout their catalogue. The absence of track titles sometimes forces the listener to reach further into the album's alien sounds, but as Ultimate Care II hits the five-minute mark the novelty wears off and absorption into the composition's overall mood takes place, as Matmos do a terrific job of blending the album's noises (which ranges from water sloshing to lids slamming to knobs grinding) into a captivating whole. Depending on the level of attention you give it, Ultimate Care II will leave the listener either mesmerized or rhetorically asking themselves, "How many sounds can a washing machine possibly make?" But that's not really the question Matmos are asking here. (Thrill Jockey)