Sō Percussion & Matmos

Treasure State

Long in the making, Treasure State is a startling collaboration between two rogue American groups. Known for playing the music of Steve Reich, David Lang, and Paul Lansky, Brooklyn-based quartet Sō Percussion are acknowledged virtuoso performers of classical and avant-garde writing for percussion, and are increasingly recognized as composers in their own right. Musique-concrete oddballs brought into the mainstream by their collaboration with Björk, Baltimorean electronic duo Matmos are infamous for turning bizarre sound sources (from plastic surgery to live snails) into shuffling rhythmic pop.

Bridging the gap from the conservatory to the laptop screen, these groups share a love of propulsive musical experiment. The resulting collaborative album is a checkerboard of Matmos and Sō Percussion compositions, but in each case these ensembles have reinforced each other's techniques and methodologies. The core of the record is a series of studies of the musical resources of everyday and not-so-everyday elemental materials: ceramic planters, pails of water, aluminum beer cans, cactus needles, cans of house paint. The result is a richly diverse yet highly listenable record that flows across a range of genres, sound sources, objects and styles to create an elemental American landscape.

The record had a complex gestation period: at the invitation of Brett Allen, the members of Matmos and So Percussion went to the SnowGhost Studios in Whitefish, Montana-- the Treasure State which gives the album its title-- and collaboratively generated the bulk of the songs. San Francisco plunderphonicist Wobbly then chopped and edited the results on several tracks, and finally, with frequent interventions from Matmos' M. C. Schmidt, "fifth" So Percussion member and producer Lawson White overdubbed extra elements, processed, and mixed the results. The payoff of this nomadic pilgrimage is a diverse yet unified musical experience. From the desert hallucinations of Needles to the Hawaiian exotica kitsch of Treasure to the murky jazz noir of Swamp, it's a deeply American album in which musical idioms and landscapes keep arising and dissolving into each other. Call it instrumental pop music, call it 21st century electro-classical, call it a great new record.


For more information about the performers, visit the artist page for Sō Percussion.

For more information about this release, click here.

June 8, 2010
Cantaloupe Music
Matmos  So Percussion