Albums of the Week

Matmos and Joywave


Dan Carmichael, Cal Times Contributor

Ultimate Care II – Matmos
The two albums I will be discussing this week are very irregular to the music world. The first, by Matmos, includes a 38 minute long track created only through the sounds of a washing machine. Matmos, an experimental, electronic music duo from San Francisco, has recently released their tenth studio album. Most of their works are purely instrumental tracks. Occasionally the group will bring in lead vocalists to perform for the entirety of the project.
Though the album is made up of one continuous track, if you view this product on Spotify or other music streaming services, it will appear to have nine total tracks. The names are not individualized, but rather, title “Excerpt One” through Excerpt Nine.” The entire album was made in Matmos’ basement using a Whirlpool washing machine. Throughout the 38 minutes, they capture very simple, realistic sounds of the machine, while also adding their own touch. The drumming pieces you can hear were made all while the machine was running. Some of the drum beats were kept the same. Others were changed with effects added to them. It would appear that multiple instruments are used to make the sounds you hear, but in the end, it is just the machine and sounds that are made with it using a large amount of effects and synthesizers.
The tracks provided make for an interesting listening experience. Not only is the idea for this album creative and one of a kind, it is also proves to be appealing to the ear. The sequences they present are almost dream-like. If you listen deeply, you can get lost in the music. This album as a whole is great for allowing yourself to explore the depths of your own mind and is quite tranquil. I gave this a listen numerous times, one just as I was waking up and once as I was falling asleep. When waking up, the tracks grew with intensity and got my body pumping. When I was trying to fall asleep, I lost all train of thought and felt at peace. This is not the type of music you will be able to party to and rarely will you find this in a club setting, but for any music lover, it is interesting to listen to for a brand new experience.

Average Critic Rating: 75/100
My Rating: 75/100


Swish – Joywave
Just last year, Joywave released their first studio album. To the surprise of many, this was a positive start for the New York native, indie rock band. Since this release last April, the band has not made any large public announcements about a new studio album, but they did release a new single titled “Destruction,” which was actually on their first album. This song became so popular that they decided to base an EP off of it. As a way to “troll” the music industry, they took the name made popular by hip-hop artist Kanye West after he decided against using it as his album title. “Swish” is a short 30 minute long, 10 track EP. It is difficult to tell whether the group is using it to confuse music fans or just because they knew it was a popular trend worldwide. Regardless, the album artwork is the same, plain orange background that Kanye used for his new album with “Swish” written on it instead of “The Life of Pablo.”
Another interesting detail revolving around this album is that it is the same song over and over again through the first nine tracks with the last track being the only new song. This was done to be viewed as a joke. When the band plays concerts, they require their fans to get involved in the show and dance around and sing along. If the fans do not sing and dance, the band will play the same song over and over again until they join in. Even though the EP consists of the same song repeated, the title of each track is different. If you look at it as a sentence, the first nine tracks combined read, “Destruction. Why be credible when you can be incredible?” I think the entire idea they put forth was brilliant. Use an album title that has already been made popular and still avoid copyright. Present only one new song in ten tracks. Spell out a positive saying that your band believes in. Play to the comedy that your fans know and have grown to love. In the end, you will be able to listen to around 26 minutes of one of their most popular songs, as well as hear a brand new one. While this EP will not break any ground for the band, it will prove to show the fun side of the group and hopefully intrigue some new fans into listening to their previous works.

Average Critic Rating: N/A
My Rating: 75/100