Friday, May 23, 2008

Matmos - Supreme Balloon

Supreme Balloon
(05.2008, Matador)
Verdict = Blissful synths and blissful synths only.

In every review of this album you'll most likely find some reference to Matmos’ unconventional past, littered with inventive experimental albums built around one or more odd audio concepts (i.e. samples of “freshly cut hair” or "the amplified neural activity of crayfish”) and now, despite my initial intentions not to involve myself, this is one of them. Matmos basically ask for it with a sticker right on the plastic wrapping of Supreme Balloon that announces that they completely avoided their precious microphones this time around with an album created solely with synthesizers. It is funny how even their attempt to not have some overriding sampling concept has turned Supreme Balloon into Matmos’ “synths only” concept album. Well all that aside (I mean who hasn’t made an album completely out of synthesizers? Besides me that is), Supreme Balloon is every bit as captivating as Matmos’ previous releases and every bit as fun as well. I have always found it super impressive when an artist can create something genuinely engaging and terrific while still maintaining a sense of humor. Matmos accomplish this unapologetically. The cover art for Supreme Balloon illustrates the mood of the album perfectly, placing the duo in a hot air balloon mangled with various electronics and speakers spewing out clouds of colorful geometric goodness. Supreme Balloon is indeed a colorful cloud of supreme goodness. Bouncy, rubbery and alien, the noises produced here are bright and joyful as they are bizarre and adventurous. All and all, if you put all this emphasis on the non concept concept aside, or whatever (I am sure I am over emphasizing this) Supreme Balloon is a smart album that you can boogie to. Oh, and a word to the wise, grab this sucka on 180 gram double vinyl and you will be glad you did, first and foremost you get three bonus, non CD tracks (I promise you’ll want these because the CD version somehow manages to be just a tad too short for full satisfaction – i.e. it is good enough to make you wish it was longer) and you can avoid the tacky “secret” song tagged onto the end of the album with its extended dead air and such (didn’t this go out of style in the 90s?). Just so you know.

-Mr. Thistle

Matmos - "Rainbow Flag"

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