Tinkering Tinkerer: Matmos
“The ability to play the piano is kind of basic musical skill that we lack. We couldn’t sit down and play ‘Happy Birthday’ […] When we play instruments, we deliberately forget or avoid the way they’re meant to be played.”
Matmos is an experimental electronic music duo originally from San Francisco but now residing in Baltimore. Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, aided and abetted by many others.
In their recordings and live performances over the last nine years, Matmos have used the sounds of: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, a bowed five string banjo, slowed down whistles and kisses, water hitting copper plates, the runout groove of a vinyl record, a $5.00 electric guitar, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, violins, rat cages, tanks of helium, violas, human skulls, cellos, peck horns, tubas, cards shuffling, field recordings of conversations in hot tubs, frequency response tests for defective hearing aids, a steel guitar recorded in a sewer, electrical interference generated by laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions and balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones on a dinner plate, Polish trains, insects, ukelele, aspirin tablets hitting a drum kit from across the room, dogs barking, people reading aloud, life support systems and inflatable blankets, records chosen by the roll of dice, an acupuncture point detector conducting electrical current through human skin, rock salt crunching underfoot, solid gold coins spinning on bars of solid silver, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal. They fit right in the Tinkering Studio ethos, and they played a very experimental set at our 2011 Tinkerers’ Ball in Baltimore, MD.