Exquisite Corpse

features Loy Fankbonner on drums, Margarida Garcia on electric double bass, Kevin Failure on guitar and piano, and Mattin on vocals.
Recorded by Dougie Bowne & Ivan Julian at NYHED, NYC 27 February 2009.

400 copies edition
Download: zip with flacs

w.m.o/r 40 (Stockholm)
OZKDS 017 (Barcelona)
azd08 (New York)

1 Reveal the Structure: Exquisite Corpse│
2  Diaries in Exile
3 Against The Reprodcution of Stereotypes
4 Pretentious
5 The Most Abject Form of Authorship

6 New World Order
 7 Instability
9 Abstraction Will Bring You Death
10 Kill It While You Can

"If you've been following his work (and even if you haven't, you big bugbear) you know that Mattin brings a conceptual musician's ear to his rock 'n' roll but he keeps it out of the museum and on the 'streetz,' 'cos that's where the riots went down, and this places him at a helluva impasse: the European dialectical impulse has no choice but to hurtle head-on into a game of chicken with the American-historical rock narrative (not the name of a band, though it should be) or to get in bed with it and allow their legs to intertwine in an awkward genital embrace. So it was that in the winter of '08, the bellicose Basque recruited globetrotting bass pervert Margarida Garcia, Kevin Failure of Pink Reason (guitar and piano), and erstwhile Chinese Restaurant 'Lucky' Lloyd Frackkbonner (drums) for an exquisitely corpsical seance conducted on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where Lautreamont shakes hands with the Language Poets and hunkers down for a burger and a smoke with Ivan Julian and Dougie Bowne (engineers and Vietnam vets both). Together they perform an ontological autopsy on the body of rock & roll form, then hogtie the improviser's process with a rope made of crisis (remember the bailout?) -- the Surrealist parlor game subjected here to crushing technology and a stopwatch plus liquor and god-knows-what else. The Rules: ten songs, each exactly three minutes in duration, recorded in strict ass-backwards fashion: first the vocals, then Kevin's guitars, etc., then Margarida's bowed and throbbing bass, then the drums. No second takes. No two musicians were allowed in the studio at the same time and none of them could hear a playback so their only guide -- their score, if you will -- was Mattin's lyrics, which themselves are a living corpse that slices itself open to display its guts, which look like these ten songs or a mangled womb. So we hear it for the first time and guess what? It sounds like a Top-40 station playing nothing but side B of No New York. No shit. Every song is a hit."

Radio Plays:

Thee Now Show by Mark
Three D Radio 93.7FM Adelaide Community Radio


Top Tens from MRR #344 • January 2012

20 12 2011 Punk rockers! Every month, a couple weeks after the magazine comes out, we post our reviewers’ monthly top tens from the latest issue of Maximum Rocknroll. This one’s from MRR #344, the January 2012 issue. Savor the goodness…

Mitch Cardwell
DWARF-Gotta Get Louder/I Won’t Be Back-45
DEAD FARMERS-Out the Door/Never Enough-45
SHIT DOGS-Present the History of Cheese-2xEP
SEX CULT-Errand Boy-EP
VIDEO-Leather Leather-LP
MATTIN-Exquisite Corpse-LP
SEX CHURCH-Growing Over-LP

Volcanic Tongue (by David Keenan, Glasgow October 2011)

It’s hard to think of many artists that have made radical Marxist concerns and over-arching concepts seem even vaguely interesting in a rock-as-rock context, there’s uh.... well, there’s Mattin. Billy Bao were, for a while, the most amazing marriage of sociopathic rage and sociopathtic theory, perfectly marrying Mattin’s love for Lou with his love for Looting. And now comes this, a new solo album where he is joined by the always-amazing Margarida Garcia on electric double bass, Kevin Failure of Pink Reason on electric guitar and piano and Loy Fankbonner on drums, while he steps in on vocals and lyrics. Inspired by the Surrealist concept of The Exquisite Corpse, drawings or words written on folded paper where you must add the next contribution without any knowledge of what the other person has put down, Mattin handed out a set of lyrics and asked each player to lay down their part without any other guidance or any other instruments to play to. Each part was then mixed in as-is with Mattin’s vocals over the top. No two musicians were allowed in the studio at the same time, everything was one take and no playbacks were allowed. The results are jaw-dropping. The staggered rhythms and sudden speed-ups and stops/starts give the music an unpredictable/feral energy with Failure’s guitar sounding like something out of the first couple of Crass albums while Fankbonner moves from scattershot punctuation to sudden last-minute accelerations accompanied by Garcia’s cranking bass. Mattin’s vocals are amazing, possessed of the kind of hectoring/hysterical energy of The Afflicted Man or even Lydon circa Metal Box while the music feels like a spiritual cousin of the whole Oi/d-beat/post-punk UK aggro scene, albeit re-thunk by Japanese gods of thunder Kousokuya and with Tori Kudo on the mix. At other points, when the piano comes in, it could almost be Yoko Ono’s Fly only here peace gets no chances, beds are on fire and the time is right for fighting in the street. The absolute success of Mattin’s gamble only goes to underline how important chance, freedom and aleatoric strategies are to keeping rock music alive as any kind of expressive cultural force, something that has been internalised and re-stated again and again throughout its’ history, whether through punk’s deliberate refusal of ‘technique’, psychedelia’s inheritance of free improvisation as the keys to the kingdom or noise’s refusal of dialogue altogether. Left to chance, beyond any notions of exchange, beyond organisation, beyond entertainment or simple ‘communication’, beyond bullshit notions of ‘creating a space where dialogue can take place’ (perhaps the most tiresome apologia of contemporary art praxis) the best rock exists in a zone that’s unanswerable to technique, unassailable and incapable of assimilation and this new project from Mattin, well, it’s just like alla the best rock/roll, impossible to reproduce, offensive to any fixed artistic sensibility and drawing power by insisting on excess. Totally fantastic and highly recommended!

Cows Are Just Food Blog (Glasgow, November 2011)

detourn yourself! this shrieks. debord’s like a fucking spectre hanging over me just now. letterists got a fist in my ass working me like a ventriloquists dummy. yup mattins’ back. reductionally, indulging the destructive/restrictive rockist impulses of billy bao with a spewy fervour not seen since… okay not the last billy bao record (urban disease) but certainly may08.

see, unpredictability’s what i dig about mattin. urban disease was so beautifully unlike a billy bao record, defined by silence, lacking words. exquisite corpse is baoist in all but name. unredeconstructed rawk, spittle-flecked and foam-mouthed. lyrics that read like marxist/situationist pamphlets. and all wrapped up in a muss of violent concept.

this is a record as much about rock music as capitalism. putting the exquisite corpse as game aside, taking the words at face value, we’re looking at the bloated airbrushed near-zombie nonfuckerry of rock and roll as an artistic force, we’re looking at the (kinda) free market as ouroboros, devouring it’s own dead flesh. both theories impotent, like leatherface wildly swinging that huge dick chainsaw at thin air; the realisation a way of life’s coming to a(n) (un)climactic end. which makes this record such a goddam joy. fulla wild messy pep. an epinephrine shot to yr head/heart/gut/cock/cunt/feet. all the corporeal zones music should kick you in.

mattin and his savage chinese whisperers hack unsighted at the cadaver of rock and roll, blind men performing an autopsy on pre-post-bust-capitalism. a ten track three year old prescience of the carry-on-as-normal weekend at bernies school of economics. none of this fichtean dialectic and oppositional psychopathology would matter a tinker’s cuss if it wasn’t glued to to such (im)perfect, uncut (in every sense of the word) bash and clatter, if it was done with a fair bit of dry, dry panache. can’t help but like a fella who follows up the line ‘revolution through language’ with ‘i never wrote slogan songs’…

it started, in proper contrarian style, with mattin’s lyrics and voice. followed by kevin failure’s guitar and piano. then margarida garcia’s bass. and finally loy fankbonner’s drums. all recorded independently, without hearing the other’s part, with nothing to go on but words. the rules: one take, three minutes per track. no way back, said the man himself. fuck technique, fuck metre, fuck progression, fuck structure. it is what it is in this moment.

and the results? a wild, vicious thrash. songs, forever staggering at the edge, teetering on the cusp, threatening to fall spectacularly apart but somehow never succumbing to the ugly pull of gravity. vox that veer from croon to snarl to jabber. beats like hardcore that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself then suddenly remembers. fella on guitar pulling brutish gobs of skree and punctuation marks of semi-refined piano klang from the aether. buckshots of bass, aiming at nothing and hitting everything.

prefix avant-something / post-whatever all you like. it’s against itself. and at it’s core it does what rock music should do, but rarely does: refuse/resist.

Revue & Corrigée

Disque enregistré en 2009 à NYC par Dougie Bowne et Yvan Julian. Disque concept craché dans l'histoire du rock n'roll, glaviot sonique initié par MATTIN, rock'n roll killing my life, oui plus surement que le Prozac. 4 pistes enregistrées en aveugle avec Loy Fankbonner aux drums, Margarita Garcia à la basse, Kevin Failure à la guitare et Mattin : voix d'écorché. Chacun d'entre eux jouant en devers soi, sourd aux autres, amnésiques. Chacun des participants à ce disque a enregistré sans savoir ce que les autres faisaient dans leur coin de studio. Chacun n'avait pour consigne qu'un timing a respecter, pour le reste une liberté absolue de jeu et sa propre histoire avec lui. MATTIN remixerait le tout ensemble de façon brutale, 4 pistes superposées sans écoutes préalables, assemblées de façon anarchique, cadavre exquis se découvrant à l'écoute du final mix. Toute l'histoire du rock est un cadavre exquis qui se refuse à disparaître, MATTIN l'a bien compris et le revendique, exhibe son cadavre chantant et danse à pieds joints dessus. Les morts vont vite. Comment faire, comment taire ce qui nous précède, nous hante, nous influence ? Comment faire pour donner un coup de pied dans ce qui nous oppresse au nom de la culture, l'autre nom de notre aliénation au Capital. Déconstruire ? Les groupes industriels l'ont tenté, en vain. No escape, clamait déjà le combo acide The Seeds. Suicide l'avait entendu, Alan Vega se crucifiant sur scène, le King était mort né. White House plongeait un public d'addicts dans un bain de bruits blancs, cela n'a pas suffit, le rock se refusait à crever, malgré l'annonce faite à un public stupéfait de sa mort prochaine. Le fil est là, trainant au sol dans la poussière des discothèques savantes ou populaires, fil auquel se renouer, en prolonger le dessin, en injectant de l'électricité. Ce disque évoque autant la No Wave et ses Blue Human que les Sex Pistols et leur grande escroquerie, l'énergie des Stooges que le poison sonore du Velvet Undergound, le Joseph Holbroke de Derek Bailey que Harry Pussy. Un foutu boucan, metal machine music jouée free, fracturée, disloquée, précipitée dans le vide sidéral de la post-modernité. Ca pose la question du Nouveau de manière radicale, et montre finalement que personne n'échappe à la culture dans laquelle nous baignons. C'est une Å“uvre nihiliste parce qu'elle démontre que même free dans notre jeu, nos doigts ont une mémoire, que même le hasard reproduit l'Histoire de la musique déjà enregistrée. Tous les projets de MATTIN tente de se poser comme projet politique, de remettre en question nos pratiques culturelles, musicales, leur spectacle et ses droits d'auteur. Coup de pied foutu dans les petits commerces de l'underground, juste voir ce qui se passe après. Souvent rien. MATTIN hurle des slogans anti-capitaliste, récite des mantras punk analysant les moyens de production d'un disque de rock n'roll, notre aliénation à la marchandise culturelle (celle qui recouvre toutes les autres). Pas de love songs, ni d'appels aux émeutes. Sorte de syllogisme démontrant que toutes les musiques ne sont que le reflet du pouvoir et que les musiques free et underground peut-être plus encore que toutes autres, parce qu'elles se fondent sur une illusion de liberté. MATTIN clame « Music must be destroy ! Right here ! Right Now ! Â».  Certes en son temps Guy Debord dénonçait déjà la culture comme l'alliée objective du pouvoir, mais pourquoi vouloir saccager ce qui nous libère autant que ce qui nous oppresse ? Le rock est ambivalent, il reste une sous-culture autant qu'un vivier pour alimenter en spectacles les musées. La vision de MATTIN est foutrement nihiliste. Mais la musique reste ici radicalement jouissive. Paradoxe ?

Michel Henritzi

The Sound Projector (by Ed Pinsent, 2th February 2013)

The Corpse Grinders

The Basque agit-prop malcontent Mattin is another extreme noisester and like Rupenus refuses to give up, stating and restating his strident messages. Some of his anti-capitalist polemic has found its way onto the lyrics of Exquisite Corpse (OZONOKIDS OZKDS 017, AZUL DISCOGRAFICA AZD08, W.M.O./r 40), which is almost an album of sloganeering rock songs; one favourite snippet of wordage poses the conundrum “Attali advises Sarkozy / noise politics?” But the politics are only a small part of this unusual record. The main point of interest is the extremely spontaneous methodology used to create the record, which relied heavily on single-takes, sight-unseen readings of lyrics, a recording engineer who couldn’t wait to start the tape rolling, and a very laissez-faire mixing-editing technique. Mattin instigated these events, bringing in the talents of drummer Loy Fankbonner, bassist Margarida Garcia, and guitarist / pianist Kevin Failure. Keen to elicit an almost “absolute” degree of spontaneity, Mattin did not prescribe what instruments they should play nor how they should perform 3, and only supplied minimal information regarding the song content. They players were not allowed to hear each other, or the lyrics, in their headphones, and when all was finished (it was recorded in a single night) Mattin just threw the takes together on his computer with scant regard for “matching” tracks, a smooth production, or indeed creating a coherent musical statement of any sort. Through this process, he says, he expects the “exquisite corpse to vomit the new wine”. But he also regards improvisation as demanding a heavy commitment, and is clearly attracted to the idea that there is “no way back” once the statement is made. In that light, this record represents a somewhat more drastic enactment of that technique, where the stakes are very high and no quarter is given for self-congratulation, retakes, rehearsals, overdubs, or any of that namby-pamby stuff that other musicians do in the studio. I know that Frank Zappa occasionally made recordings where he would match up unrelated solos and other instrumental parts (he, or somebody, called it “xenochrony”), but Zappa was still pursuing some form of aesthetic beauty, which Mattin quite clearly is not. Rather, I suspect Mattin intends to lay bare the very process of making records in the same way he likes to expose mechanisms of thought and the inner workings of political practice in all areas of the great human machine. You could also regard this LP as adhering to the punk rock or post-punk ideals of one-take honesty and spontaneity, but that’s probably way off the mark too. I’d imagine that many punk bands did their songs in one take for economic reasons – they couldn’t afford to purchase any more studio time. At any rate, Mattin’s bold experiment catches fire in places on this record, which is chaotic, obnoxious, broken, disjunctive and verging on the unlistenable – but it is also fiery and spontaneous, a living thing of raw pulsating energies, and teeming with a life which has emphatically not been deadened or diluted in the studio process. I suppose we can all learn something from that. However, Mattin chose his collaborators wisely; I suspect there aren’t many musicians who’d be prepared to go along with an experiment as radical as this, and some might even regard it as a rather forced freedom, like being told you can do whatever you like at the point of a gun. The entire exercise is interleaved with fine art references; the “exquisite corpse” itself came from the Surrealists, and there’s a situationist slogan “Detourn Yourself!” scrawled on the cover, which is also littered with typewritten and scrawled texts from the lyrics, mixed up and tilted every which way, as if attempting to rekindle the power of a Futurist Words-in-Freedom page or the front cover of any given Dadaist journal. From 7th November 2011.

3 “I hate other people telling me what to play,” he snarls on the back cover. 

ENTZUN (Euskal Herria)

El último trabajo de Mattin es un ejercicio de creación colectivo. De hecho, el título del disco hace referencia al Cadáver Exquisito técnica utilizada por los surrealistas para la creación de un texto o imagen colectiva, con un peculiaridad, que los participantes sólo pueden ver la aportación del autor que participó anteriormente a él. Esto es, el participante no podrá ver la aportación del resto hasta el final de la obra. El resultado es un collage irracional. Los dadaístas fueron los precursores de este tipo de acciones, entre otros, Raoul Hausmann inventor del fotomontaje. Más tarde, el escritor beat William S. Burroughs y el artista Bryon Gysin lo trasladaron al ámbito del sonido y lo bautizaron como cut-up. O lo que es lo mismo, el corta/pega del que tanto se abusa y subestima hoy en día. Con el objetivo de evitar el proceso clásico de grabación de un disco rock, el terrorista sonoro vizcaíno entregó las letras de estos temas a tres músicos dos días antes de entrar en el estudio. Así, esas letras (puñaladas afiladas dirigidas al sistema capitalista actual) fueron la única guía que tuvieron los músicos Loy Fankbonner (bateria), Margarida Garcia bajo), y Kevin Failure (guitarra y piano, Pink Reason), ya que grabaron todas las canciones sin verse ni escucharse entre sí, en la primera toma. Mattin ya me advirtió vía mail que era un disco difícil, pero el resultado me ha dejado perplejo. Es un trabajo espontaneo, intuitivo y primitivo, y bastante más audible de lo que me esperaba. Aquí no hay rastro del noise-rock de Billy Bao, -el otro proyecto de Mattin-, ni tampoco se detectan rastros de los riffs repetitivos e interminables de sus queridos Brainbombs; aquí lo que impera es la improvisación, los ambientes de calma áspera, los arrebatos impetuosos y la desesperada voz de Mattin. Es un experimento espontáneo realizado con osadía infantil. La clave es lo que surge en el momento, eternizar el instante. Prueba de ellos The Most Abject Form Of Authorship un corte arrebatador, donde texturas ruidosas se unen con un piano roto, entre gritos desgarradores. Grabado en Nueva York en 2009, se han editado 450 LPs. Este fiambre está muy vivo.

Julen Azpitarte

You Are  A Ghost Blog (November 2011)

Nuevo material del vasco Mattin es siempre bien recibido por un servidor, un verdadero artista revolucionario, que acostumbra cambiarnos las reglas del juego con cada una de sus grabaciones, ya sea en plan live improv, en el noise, como Billy Bao, en colaboración con otros y bajo su propio nombre, un gusto tener a Mattin de vuelta.

Exquisite Corpse es como se ha denominado a una metodología de trabajo (principalmente en creación literaria ideada por los surrelistas), consistente en el trabajo de conjunto de varios participantes, en el cual uno inicia con una propuesta y en orden variado cada uno va partiendo de dónde termina el participante anterior (sin conocer que escribió este), dándole giros inesperados al trabajo y creando nuevas ideas que en la suma traen un trabajo interesante en una suma de todos los esfuerzos, a veces difícil, complejo y que exige bastante de cada participante, a veces sujeto a tiempo, a veces sujeto a la capacidad de improvisar de cada uno de los participantes, no es de sorprendernos porque Mattin eligió este concepto para su nueva grabación.

Querer entender Exquisite Corpse únicamente a través de la música, sin todo el concepto global, sería como tratar de explicarse lo “monumental” del Biophilia de Bjork sin todo el rollo de los apps y la creación en Ipad que redondeaban el concepto de ese disco, y es que es necesario saber el proceso creativo al que Mattin sometió a los participantes para la creación de esta interesante obra.

Para esta grabación Mattin reclutó a importantes participantes del underground mundial, la portuguesa Margarida García en el bajo, Kevin Failure del grupo Pink Reason en la guitarra y el piano, el baterista Lloyd Frackkbonner y el mismo Mattin en la voz, y bien ahora que conocemos a las fichas de este juego, podemos proceder a saber como se gestó, la idea es una agresión directa y buena sacudida a los paradigmas de las grabaciones modernas, dónde por lo general se graban las baterías, los bajos, las guitarras y las voces en ese orden, en primer lugar, el siempre listo Mattin invierte los factores, primera sacudida, la única base para la grabación son las letras de Mattin, las cuales son entregadas a cada uno de los participantes en papel, cada uno de ellos tiene exactamente tres minutos para improvisar en base a esas letras (segunda sacudida), una sola toma, sin re grabaciones (tercera sacudida), en base a eso Mattin se encargó de mezclar las grabaciones individuales agregándoles su voz de manera digital, el resultado, en primer lugar, sorprendentemente suena coherente, es decir, no suena a partes separadas, nos remite a esas grabaciones que desconocían tiempos y métricas formales que nos recetaban el buen Capitan Beefheart, dónde a pesar de lo disparatado de cada uno de los inputs, el todo final lograba sonar de una pieza, como una hidra de mil cabezas.

Mattin tiene éxito con su cometido, mucho del sonido remite a la no wave, con Mattin agregando las torturadas vocales con que nos ha acostumbrado, como si John Lydon, ese de los PIL hubiera sufrido una lobotomía (vaya cosa, como si Lydon la necesitase), con una Margarida brutal como siempre, omnipresente usando su bajo como un poderoso instrumento de percusión en lugar de ajustarse tímidamente a un ritmo, golpeándolo, raspándolo, exprimiéndole hasta la última gota de sonido, con un Kevin Failure que flota libremente con sus desgarradoras aportaciones en la guitarra que recuerdan en mucho a Arto Lindsay en su época con los DNA, con un total desprecio por las rítmicas tradicionales, y cuyas incursiones de piano resultan un respiro ante tan frenético paso de los participantes y bueno, no podemos hacer menos la aportación de Frackkbonner, quien en parte improvisa o colorea y en parte mantiene ritmos de rock sólidos, una obra que a pesar de su muy arriesgado concepto, termina sonado de una sola pieza, Mattin se apunta otro acierto en dónde concepto y música van de la mano formando un todo como una obra mayúscula, sirviendo de admirable ejemplo para los demás de cómo la música o el sonido si prefieren llamarle así, puede ser llevada a otros niveles, re escribiendo por completo las reglas del juego.

Ruta 66 (#290, Febrero 2012, Barcelona)

Un claro acercamiento al rock, sin abandonar la estridencia, en la ingente discografía del trotamundos y militante anti-copyright getxotarra Mattin, es su rciente y breve obra Exquisite Corpse (w.m.o/r) desde su nueva residencia en Estocolmo, aunque el disco lo grabó en la anterior, Nueva York. Es la improvisación el arte del que Mattin y la gente con la que se rodea hacen su propia guerrilla, por eso el disco está grabado (créelo) con su voz muy bien encajada por encima de cuatro instrumentos que se han registrado por separado, si haber oído las partes de los demás. Y consigue, más en la segundar cara, un atractivo retordimiento que remite a los mejores clásicos del rock jarto. Como un Damo Suzuki menos pacifista.
Álvaro Fierro & Fendrando Gegúndez

Foxy Digitalis (24th January 2012. By Bobby Power)

It can be argued that Mattin’s latest Exquisite Corpse is one of the most unlistenable records ever. Atonal anti-melodies, jarring start-stop dynamics, and extreme off-the-cuff vocal improvisations all make for an impossible to follow trek of frenetic and anxious post-punk noise.  However, the group’s sense of feral chaos lends excitement that’s rough around every edge imaginable.  Featuring a new string of players, including Kevin Failure of Pink Reason, the busted songs here haunt and bruise with reckless abandon and suicidal self abuse.  The pieces here bear a striking resemblance to Swell Maps at their sharpest and most raucous.  Overblown sketches of potentially great, world-ending songs are discovered seemingly while they were recorded as though a self-proclaimed genius working under an impossible deadline.

As it turns out, the record’s concept could have easily undermined the entire project.  Mattin (the artist) explains that the lyrics were given to the players a couple of days before recording, and none of the players recorded (or even saw each other) at the same time.  Everything was layered on top of the previous session until the album was done.

At times, the songs resemble Dead Kennedys stoned out of their minds, lost basement demos for Jane from Occupied Europe, or a wasted cover band doing their best to reinterpret No New York rather than the Misfits for the umpteenth time.  In the end, it’s a consuming squall of surrealism and noise.

KFJC Radio (Los Altos Hills, California)

Just so you know, I saw a review online that called this “one of the most unlistenable records ever.” Here’s the deal: Anarchist punk improvising artist noisemaker Mattin (Basque by birth but now a troublemaking citizen of the whole damned world) wrote a batch of extreme, socially conscious, the-world-is-fucked lyrics and recorded them in his jabbering nonsense of a voice. Then he enlisted three musicians (guitar/piano, bass, and drums) to come up with backing music, giving them exactly three minutes per song to do whatever they wanted and only one take to get each song right. And oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that none of the players ever heard the others or even the vocals; they had the lyrics for inspiration and that’s all. They had no idea what the vocals sounded like or how the other musicians were dealing with key, tempo, or style. Not that it mattered. Mattin piled the parts one on top of another and called it a mix. Boom, done. It sounds pretty much like you would expect it to, all loud chaos and sharp-edged randomness, making absolutely no sense. I enjoyed this record in spite of it being completely unlistenable.
Reviewed by Max Level on January 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Mondo Sonoro (Euskal Herria)

Viejo conocido de la escena, ex Inte Domine y en La Grieta, Mattin sigue ideando concepciones abstractas sobre
la música donde la improvisación es la razón de ser, dejando que el momento sea el que influya en el músico y no al revés. Diez temas grabados siguiendo la doctrina del holismo, el cuarteto liderado por el getxotarra (ahora en Suecia ) apuesta or el ruidismo bajo un enfoque algo más rock de lo que acostumbra y epatando, como debe ser. Alvaro Fierro

number 800
week 40

To say that I like everything Mattin does is not right: I don't. If there is one aspect however I do like about his work is that he always surprises me. He has on put on some harsh noise, some utter conceptual music albums (also on his own label) and has experimented with free form rock and noise. Here he has a new 'band', Exquisite Corpse, the way of creating things where one doesn't create hears what the others did, so on this record Mattin sings and wrote the lyrics and recorded those first. Then he added the electric double bass of Margarida Garcia, then guitar and piano of Kevin Failure, and at last the drums of Loy Fankbonner. All of them played for ten times three minutes - the average rock length (Mattin says, but he is confused with a pop song), without hearing what the others did. Mattin overlayed all of this music without too much mixing and there you: exquisite corpse. Its Mattin in his full free rock and noise mode here, and I have to admit its not always my kind of music but the whole thing sounds quite energetic and crazy. Probably the kind of free stuff that you would probably also get if you would have all these people playing together at the same time, but such things could not spoil the fun I had with this record. Mattin has his political cap on when writing these lyrics, which are luckily printed on the cover - otherwise I couldn't have known. I have no idea what exactly is being questioned here, maybe the nature of rock records? Punk? Or simply an interesting way of creating mayhem - if its just the latter, then Mattin succeeded very well: pleasantly disturbed...Excellent Confussion! FdW

wish you were here live journal

   Очень оригинальные испанский музыкант, работающий на стыке нойз-рока и того, что зовётся spoken word - этот альбом записан в стилистике, близкой последнему эксперименту Лу Рида с Металликой, только здесь вместо металлических риффов - нойзовые. Вообще же, дискография у Mattin вполне приличная (если считать ещё всякие коллаборации с группами, где он успел поиграть в основном как гитарист), этот альбом - первый, который я него пока послушал (хотя с Billy Bao, где он числится участником, раньше немного ознакомился), интересно будет узнать, как эволюционировала его творческая манера. В отличие от того же Лу Рида, пижонства у Маттина нет как нет, а есть юродивая страсть, если не кликушество, поэтому поначалу его музыка может вызвать отторжение, хотя для тех, кто любит, например, The Hospitals, тут всё в порядке вещей.

Weirdo Records (Cambridge, MA)

Bleeding every which way, Mattin & a few friends pick up a set of rock instruments & make a record of all overdubs without hearing what any of the other band members are doing. They only have Mattin's lyrics to go on, and of course those are quite cutting. Basically another Billy Bao record, but those sick zippers of guitar, random drum bashes & blubbering vocals arrive upon your ear with considerable savagery.

Maximun Rock n Roll (San Francisco)

 Recorded in a style similar to the paper play game the record is named
after, with the musicians making music with nothing to guide them but
Mattin¹s lyrics. The first BILLY BAO records I heard really affected me, the
relentlessness and disgust were total, like the best HC 45s, but I think the
conceptuality of his records sometimes gets in the way of my enjoyment of
them. But then, what music isn¹t conceptual, everything is
constructed/intentionalŠ Exquisite Corpse was put together in sections and
it sounds that way, it¹s not like paint dripping down a wall boredom by any
stretch, but the parts that aren¹t compelling are made more apparent by the
difference between them and the songs that do work. The guitar sound is
particularly cool, having a sort of treble/nasal tone that brings to mind
the more fucked up end of anarcho punk, NICK BLINKO or even ³Poptones.² All
of the musicians are clearly great at what they do, there are people from
various noise combos, the kind of people who could probably make a living
playing session drums or whatever along with sometime MRR columnist Kevin of
PINK REASON. What really kills it for me are the vocals, they are emotional
in a way that seems like a put on, like listening to a whiny manarchist
hitting on one of your friends. It is not that intriguing. It seems like a
sound that¹s simultaneously calling for the end of yet is also celebrating
rock¹n¹roll would be more compelling than this, like if they mean it about
abandoning the galleries for the streets how come you can¹t feel the
concrete? I guess this was supposed to come out three years ago, but the US
record label dropped the ball, so now it¹s limited to 150 on a Euro label.
Act fast! (LG)

Just Outside (Brian Olewnick, New Jersey, November 2011)

Loy Fankbonner/Margarida Garcia/Kevin Failure/Mattin - Exquisite Corpse (w.m.o/r - Azul Discografica - Ozono Kids)

The idea is simple enough: four parts of each of ten songs recorded independently, with only the lyrics serving as "graphic score" of a kind, limiting the length to standard pop's three minutes, layering the results without discrimination. MIMEO's "Sight" was a far deeper exploration along tangential lines, including as it did the advice to think in terms of the communality of the ensemble despite being geographically isolated. Perhaps the same idea was at play here or the members thought of it themselves. I also found myself recalling Gavin Bryars' wonderful "1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4" on that mid-70s Obscure disc, wherein the group member recorded simultaneously but outside the range of hearing each other, beginning a written piece together (in this case a loungy jazz number) but gradually, inevitably, drifting apart.

In any event, we *are* presented with a commodity here, another in a long string of seemingly contradictory product emanating from Mattin who might just as likely sit and stare at his performing partner for the duration of the set, recording what transpires, playing it back immediately, or not show up, or interrogate the audience. Not sure if this is the "last" item which presents a fairly traditional musical approach (in ultimate outcome, if not in means of production). If I attempt to describe what it sounds like...oh, a bit of Boredoms, maybe some DNA, any number of groups straddling the noise/rock divide. At times, rather amusingly, it brings back memories of Last Exit or Arcana. It's perfectly listenable, very loose, Failure's guitar chiming, Fankbonner's drums supple and varied and, probably (not surprisingly) Garcia's bass, rough-hewn and uncompromising, supplying the most material of lasting interest. Mattin's vocals are suitably disjointed and glossolaliac.

The Watchfull Ear (Richard Pinnell, 20 December 2011)

I’m not sure how many reviews I will manage to write this week. last year if I remember correctly I stopped even trying until Boxing Day, such is the impact the silly season has on my day job, and subsequently on me. I am exhausted tonight but do not have to be up early tomorrow, so will write a review this evening, but I can’t be sure that I will be able to manage to do so many more time this week. Tonight then I have been listening to a vinyl album I first played two or three weeks back, but found so interminably unlistenable that I have only just pulled it out again tonight. Its not really an album that particularly demands a lot of careful listening anyway.

The album is a new conceptual work from Mattin named Exquisite Corpse. The music was created using a method similar to the traditional  game of the same name in which a group of people individually draw different parts of a drawing, often a person, without being able to see the contributions of the other members of the group. For this album, which is jointly released on Mattin’s w.m.o/r label and the Azul Discografica label, Mattin wrote the lyrics to ten songs, which he then sent out to the three other members of the group he has formed for this project- Loy Fankbonner, (drums) Margarida Garcia (electric bass) and Kevin Failure (guitar and piano). Each group member only received the lyrics a couple of days in advance of recording their individual parts, which they did separately and without any contact with one another. All they were sent were the lyrics, and the instruction that each of the ten songs should only last three minutes. The three instrumental parts were then superimposed by Mattin without any editing later, with an additional fourth track, his vocals, added on top, again recorded without having heard anything his collaborators had produced. The lyrics then were meant to provide some kind of, (in Mattin’s words) graphic score for the project, the only element the musicians could use to try and guess at how the music might sound.

This kind of exquisite corpse game is not unusual in improvised or experimental music. recently of course, MIMEO’s sight album was created in a vaguely similar way, and many other examples can be found in recent history. Perhaps the one thing that sets this album off from those other works might be its attempt to create a somewhat mainstream form of music with rhythm, melody and sung words  rather than anything as abstract as the sight project produced. the end result then, as perhaps we might expect, is a somewhat disjointed garage-punk styled mess of a record, bass and drums never connecting, grainy insistent guitars thrashing about, and Mattin’s half spoken, half shouted, never really sung lyrics scrawled all over the top. There are some moments that almost work, some happy accidents where two musicians might change course suddenly int he same place, or parts where all of the group might decide to play quieter, or more slowly, and one might wonder how much of this is the result of the musicians interpreting the lyrics in similar ways and how much might just be happy accident. Any enjoyment taken from the album then came for me from the curiosity of what such a project might throw up. On the whole though, it sounds like rough outtakes from a dodgy mid-Eighties Velvet Underground tribute band’s practice sessions. Not a pretty thought then, though I am also quite aware of how that description could actually please Mattin!

My problem with this project is not so much that it produced something that isn’t so inspiring to listen to, but rather that its a bit of an old, boring idea. In his liner notes Mattin mentions that because the musicians were only allowed one take to respond to lyrics they had not had much time with, they came close to the spirit of improvisation. I’m not so sure that this was really the case, given that they each have tried at least to make sounds that might work together to form a set of rock songs, albeit of the somewhat obscure avant-punk variety. Beyond the intriguing way that the different musicians interpreted each track, and beyond the novelty element that any project of this type might engender though, this seems a bit of a lightweight, throwaway project for Mattin. It comes across as part interesting, if unoriginal concept, and part homage to the rock and roll studio experience. Unlike other Mattin works of recent years though, its ugliness as a piece of music is not really compensated for by an interesting conceptual idea. Nothing here leaves me thinking long after the needle has come to rest in the last groove, and the end result is somewhat predictable. It all ends up being a bit of a throwaway project then, of the kind I really don’t expect from Mattin. No big criticisms, just not something that left much of an impression.

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The Wire (#335, January 2012)

Prolific Basque provocateur Mattin has mde a micro-career out of valuing ideas more than musicality, and there's often much to be said for this sort of upturning of the apple cart of trad sonic concerns. His latest anti-album album, Exquisite Corpse, is another predictably unpredictable sandbox experiment.

Anyone who's ever taken a long childhood road trip with siblings has probably played Exquisite Corpse, where you take turns completing portions of a drawing without being allowed to see the previous section. At the end, the paper is unfolded and the clash of arbitrary shapes and styles provides a moment of amusement for the participants. When applied to the audio realm – with each musicians recording their part in isolation, excluded from being in the same recording space with the others – the results are similarly chaotic and nonsensical.

Mattin's vocals ramble and rant in their own odd vacuum. The guitar (played by Kevin Failure aka Pink Reason) tries to pre-empt Mattin's polemical lyrics with distortion-shredded No Wave atonality. Where it occasionally succeeds, the rhythm section suffers as consequence. The bass stagnates in sustained, low-end drones, which only further muddles up the already deconstructed group logic. The drummer fares only slightly better, weaving back and forth between crashing art-punk bursts and 'let's wait and see what Mattin does next' cymbal skitter.

Given how restrictive the premise was, it seemed unnecessary (if not masochistic) to further complicated the proceedings by allowing each musicians only a single take per song, and capping the duration of each track at exactly three minutes. One assumes Mattin finds a perverse pleasure or freedom in the bondage-like restrictions of such a set-up, and while art in all its forms has often benefited from healthy does of perversion to keep it alive, Exquisite Corpse feels as closed off and contrived in its own way as a tedious blog-reared indie rock group.

There is a Dostoevsky quote that reads, “ Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel.” After years of excessive overuse, Mattin's permanent middle finger has come to feel as rote and flat as a lazy peace sign thrown up by a tired hippy. Britt Brown

by zhu wenbo (organizer of Zoomin' Night events in Beijing, September 2015)

Mattin 的专辑 Exquisite Corpse (精致的尸体),据说是他的作曲作品(composition),不过封面看上去不是那么回事。封面给人的第一印象和音乐的质感倒是蛮接近:混乱的吉他贝司鼓,一股浓浓的No Wave 风。No Wave 也算作曲?

Mattin 人本分,他在唱片的封底介绍了这张黑胶唱片的制作方式,这里容我复述一遍。他把他的十首诗,发给三个乐手(Margarida Garcia - 贝司手,Loy Fankbonner - 鼓手,Kevin Failure - 吉他,钢琴),两天之后,他请他们根据诗的第一印象进行演奏并录音。每人每首歌只有一次录音机会,乐手之间事先没有知会,录音时也听不到对方。说白了,其实录的基于诗歌的独奏。Mattin 自己录制了人声演唱,因此这张专辑最终的呈现是四独奏(而非四重奏)。

专辑的录音顺序是:先录人声,然后是吉他,然后是贝司,然后是鼓(通常摇滚乐的录音顺序是鼓-贝司-吉他-唱)。每首歌都严格的限制在3分钟,这是一个摇滚乐的长度。整个录音过程用了一天,然后是一个快速直接的混音。以唱片工业的角度来看,Mattin 对自己比较狠,又有些玩世不恭。


最后,说说这些歌曲,它们有节奏,有低频,有噪音,有人味儿,当然了,就是没有配合可言。由于语言的隔阂,我不知道Mattin唱的是什么 —— 诗倒是印在了封面上,不过貌似他没有唱的完全一致 —— 只知道他唱的很赖很用力,像每一个热爱实验摇滚的小镇高中生。