Matmos Unite Polish Avant-Garde with the Present on 'Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer'
Published May 17, 2022Even the most understated Matmos release requires a Robert J. Waldinger-level of research to decode its elaborate context. But what makes albums like The Marriage of True Minds (purportedly written using ESP experiments) or Ultimate Care II (based on sounds created by their washing machine) so fascinating is how they manage to deliver sonic emotion and confidence even if you aren't aware of their novel backstories.
Taking the complete works of Bogusław Schaeffer — an avant-garde composer celebrated in his home country of Poland — the Baltimore duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt have compiled samples from across his catalogue for their latest LP. Adding interpretations and inspiration to craft each song's structure and many of their anagrammatical titles, Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer comes off superbly dense and playful.
Album opener "Resemblage / Parasamblaż" allows Schaeffer's ambient arrangements to be overtaken by wobbly rhythms and crackling beats, while "Flashcube Fog Wares / Głucha Affera Słów" works well off the duo's routine crashing, jittery tempos, grounded by a thumping bassline. But what separates Matmos' 13th LP from many of their classic recordings is the variety of sounds and moods the duo seems ready to explore. On the almost comically elastic "Cobra Wages Shuffle / Off! Schable w gurę!", Matmos bend and stretch every single note and tone until it's impractical to even begin to imagine what the source material sounds like.
Adding their usual list of guests into the mix — including Irish harpist Úna Monaghan, Turkish multi-instrumentalist Ulas Kurugullu, and Horse Lords' Max Eilbacher — only makes tracks like "Tonight there is something special about the moon / Jaki księżyc dziś wieczór..." as ambitious as its title, shifting around so many diverse ideas and modes that it comes off like a Burroughsian cut-up exercise. Given their tight artistic constraints throughout the creation of the album, its strength lies in how imaginative Matmos sound, best demonstrated by the found sound dialogues of "Flashcube Fog Wares / Głucha Affera Słów" and the warm hum of album highlight "Flight to Sodom / Lot do Salo".
Although Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer won't stand as their most approachable LP, nor will it be remembered as their most audacious (it's most likely in between the two), Matmos have cemented their rightful place within the annals of some of the most resourceful and inventive multimedia artists of their generation. (Thrill Jockey)