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Ultimate Care II


  • Joe Muggs
  • 18 February 2016

If you ever worry like electronic music is getting stale or formulaic, turn to Matmos. Baltimore-based musical and life partners Drew Daniel and Martin 'MC' Schmidt have been reinventing electronic soundmaking on a regular basis for two decades, and on the evidence of this latest album they're as full of childlike excitement about it as they've ever been.

Matmos are kind of a US counter-part to their friend and sometime collaborator Matthew Herbert: like him their records are created with extraordinary intellectual input and often barmy concepts, but manage to have a sense of fun about them too. They've made albums out of the sounds of plastic surgery and American civil war weaponry, but this is a single 38-minute track made entirely with a washing machine. No, wait, come back! It really is the clangs, gurgles, clonks and spin cycles of a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II in Daniel and Schmidt's basement – but fed through untold gizmos until it turns into the bumpiest techno, the most elegant ambient, and sexy, uncategorisable rhythms. Each time it threatens to get whacked-out or overly noisy, we're drawn back to pure pleasure in the psychedelic manipulation of beats and harmonics, or just the sound of water and machines together.

This is Matmos doing what they do best: taking a strange idea for a wild digital ride until it turns into something completely magical.

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