Matmos, a Baltimore-based conceptual art and electronic music duo, has announced it will soon be releasing an album recorded using sounds generated by a washing machine in the basement of their home.
It might sound strange, but it’s actually very typical of Matmos, who have previously played the uterus and reproductive tract of a cow and and opened for Björk on canisters of helium. This is what they do – use unusual materials to create unique sounds that end up sounding like actual music. For their upcoming album, Ultimate Care II, they used a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine, drumming on it, rubbing it, prodding it and, obviously, doing laundry, before processing the samples and creating a single 38-minute track.
According to a press release, listeners can expect to experience “an exploded view of the machine, hearing it in normal operation, but also as an object being rubbed and stroked and drummed upon and prodded and sampled and sequenced and processed by the duo.”
Matmos calls their new album “a surprisingly listenable suite of music” made by “harvesting the machine’s rich vocabulary of rhythmic chugs, spin cycle drones, rise cycle splashes, metallic clanks and electronic beeps.” The track fittingly starts with the turn of the wash size selection wheel and ends with the familiar ding of a completed wash cycle.
With this bizarre creation, the musical duo asks a very difficult question: “Is this the conceptualist emperor’s new clothes, a wistful domestic reverie, a parody of recent moves in “object oriented” philosophy, a feminist point about alienated domestic labor, an elegy to a discontinued model that stands in for unsustainable and water-wasteful technologies generally, or simply an immersion in the beauty of the noises of everyday life?”
Ultimate Care II will be released on February 19, 2016 and Matmos will also “attempt to stage the work in select U.S. cities”. Until then, here’s a sample of the unusual track. If you’re into electronic music, you’ll find that it sounds pretty cool.