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The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of a Beast

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This ten-song collection is the San Francisco-based electronica duo Matmos’ most ambitious conceptual project to date. Ten historically diverse and important gay and lesbian figures are served aural tributes in a smattering of sounds that loosely reflect their accomplishments with a bevy of guests that include The Kronos Quartet, Bjork, and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. From philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, to ‘80s remix DJ extraordinaire Larry Levan, to a controversial choice such as Valerie Solanas (who shot Andy Warhol), Matmos interpret their contributions to the modern world with a sometimes literal (Wittgenstein is quoted), sometimes imagistic recreation of their accomplishments. There’s an obvious solidarity with artists such as beat writer William S. Burroughs whose use of the cut-up method in literature perfectly syncs with Matmos’ sonic juxtapositions, or crazed ‘60s UK bedroom-record producer Joe Meek whose otherworldly surf tunes are twisted into “Solo Buttons for Joe Meek.” It sometimes feels as if they’re maybe pulling a leg or two. The punk angst of Germs singer Darby Crash’s short life is reflected in the ominous and tense industrial pressure that accumulates throughout “Germs Burn for Darby Crash” but how you might arrive at this conclusion without first being told is suspect.


Formed: 1995 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Closer in spirit to the American indie underground than the U.K.-dominated electronic music scene of the late '90s, Matmos was one of the era's more unlikely left-field electronic acts. Drew Daniel and Martin C. Schmidt's microscopic abuse of sourcings as varied as freshly cut hair, the amplified neural activity of crayfish, washing machines, and the human voice (along with a few synthesizers and drum machines) was instantly distinguishing, and created a niche for their music that endured for decades....
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The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of a Beast, Matmos
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