Washing machines seems to be in vogue as of late. There are some Youtube memes floating about with people putting bricks or other heavy-duty items in an old washing machine in the backyard and then filming them, sometimes sudden or sometimes stretched out, twirk-rattle-explode destruction of the poor machine.

Matmos is much nicer to theirs – treating the machine literally as new band member, not kidding – they even fly the star of their latest album around the globe on the record release tour of ‘Whirlpool Ultimate Care II’. When you do something, go all the way! Do it right J

Nice blend of synthetic and organic sounds, heavy processing especially some beautiful wind tunnel sounds.

Walking into Berghain’s main performance area, the first thing that comes into view is the white monolith centre stage, bathed in pink light. Peter Puzzle is spinning some atmospheric loops, which has a nostalgic suspended quality. Next is emerging Swedish composer Klara Lewis, supported by the 2016 SHAPE platform, and with her EP on Editions Mego. Visuals and sonic textures are abstract, impressionistic, dark, murky, and quite beautiful with harsh transitions between tracks. Nice blend of synthetic and organic sounds, heavy processing especially some beautiful wind tunnel sounds.

Oh Matmos, you are so fantastically camp

And then…Oh Matmos, you are so fantastically camp. Martin, always impeccably dressed, always reminds me of a ship captain. Smoking a cigarette with a smirk on his face, contemplating, I’m sure, the ridiculousness of it all, whilst technical help hooks up the machine to an 8-gallon container of water for the washing cycle and replaces a power box or something.  Some confusion and suspense, and then it starts…

The bass hits HARD, the sounds ring bright with the overall mix fabulously CRISP…

The goofy concept succeeds because of well-manipulated sound. As usual, they push the plasticity of sound to the outer limits. The machine sounds are heavily processed. The bass hits HARD, the sounds ring bright with the overall mix fabulously CRISP, the plastic acoustic space in constant flux between joyful paralysis and just taking a bouncy rain check on reality for the night.  An auto serotonin lift.

They turn the ear into a giggling surreal orgasmatronic spaceship

I always thought music is the ultimate drug and attending this gig pretty sober, I felt delightfully twisted and messed up within minutes. Which reminds me of some of their past projects, one of these containing the sounds of surgical tools – the sexy doctors at work on my synapses. Or the previous album, Marriage of True Minds, which was determined by a series of parapsychological experiments. But more than that, they turn the ear into a giggling surreal orgasmatronic spaceship. All of this always stylishly framed by their theatrical stage presence.

Each section of the washing cycle determines the structure of the set. As water runs in, there is a long abstract cinematic soundscape filled with suspense and a mood reminiscent of 2001 Space Odyssey. Then as the machine hits its first repetitive swoosh-e-wash rattle they kick in with serious groove. It keeps building through the cycles, up and down, until the final spin that’s just plain ecstatic, with virtuoso old-school DJ scratching on the surface of the Whirlpool II. A loud roar from the crowd on the final moment of the cycle and happy faces all around.  As I look around me, I don’t see a single face without a smile on it…

Review by Claire