Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cap'n Guthrie Backpedals #1

In light of my last post I will be starting a new segment that you will see every other Wednesday from this point on called: "Cap'n Guthrie Backpedals" Its where I actually step down from the deck to rabble on with the crew and take a look at my musical mistakes, of which there are few (hence doing it every other week).

and first on the list is Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of The Beast.

I was pretty psyched about Matmos and their banging on things and recording it. They record things like cow guts, snailshells, jerking off onto a microphone. no kidding to all of that. Sounds pretty fun right?

Well I didnt think so when I first heard it. To my ears it sounded like a musical version of Wheres Waldo. Wheres the cow guts? Which of those sounds are the roses? Where is Bjork? These thoughts clouded my ears. Forced overthinking's cottony substance into them. Instead of hearing music I heard a sequence of splats and squishes made of the "what sound was that" game.

That isn't to say I didn't want to hear music. I wanted so hard to be able to piece the beats and swirls and farts into my ears and brains. Alas, my thoughts would not let me. It was like reading a great book printed on several hundred cinderblocks. All I wanted to do was lift each sound up and take it somewhere to study its crevices rather than see the completed edifice.

However! After the hair-dye and tight pantaloon fueled dust died down around Matmos I waved my hand through and through the grimy air. Coughing, wincing in eyepain, and listening. and liking.

I enjoy the swishing almost watery sound of Germs Burn for Darby Crash. I enjoy the psychotic Rag for William S. Burroughs. I enjoy the deep brass and brashness of Snails and Lasers for Patricia Highsmith. Each song tells the story of the particular gay or lesbian artist it mentions in its title and each song, amazingly, is listenable in each their own manic way.

I therefore renege on my earlier selve's cold shoulder. The album is like listening to a more fluid, warmer in a way, version of The Books. No distant clipping of samples or bouncy computerized flips and gadgetry.

Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein

Matador Records


Alex said...

Please leave the Books out of this. I prefer my Matmos without reference to things that suck.

Also, I dunno, call me contrary, but I really don't buy the "biography" angle, since I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me "the story of the particular gay or lesbian artist it mentions in its title" strictly from the music. It reads like an easy way to say nothing at all. And oddly just about every review I've read says the exact same thing (which is still nothing.) What makes the Matmos album so interesting- to me anyway, who knows what you Books fans like about it- is the "framing" provided by the songs (and the album art), or the way it contextualizes instead of signifies. I mean, there isn't any real content to the songs (biographical or otherwise) apart from the little objects they use and maybe a couple (rather empty) location signifiers here and there (i.e., the "morrocan" drums on "rag"), but I can get down with the weird fetishy aspect of the whole thing since it seems to be working from the bottom-up. What I mean is that they take oddities and associations that have something to do with each figure and put them to work, make them do things or do things with them, as opposed to trying to make some grander narrative (top-down) based around snails and sequins and shit.

Cap'n Guthrie said...

Jesus, you could have just copied and pasted that shit onto your blog dude.

Alex said...

Then who would read it?