Welcome once again to Five Records, the regular FACT feature wherein an artist we admire talks to us about five records of importance to them – be they obscurities from the depths of their collection, childhood favourites, enduring loves or platters that have influenced their own musical practice.
This month we hear from Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, the two erudite gentlemen you know best as Matmos. Infamous for their inspired and, shall we say, “involved” approach to sampling, showcased in exhilarating live performances and classic recorded works like A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure and Rat Relocation Program, Matmos subverted expectation with their most recent album, 2008′s Supreme Balloon, moving away from concrète strategies in order to work entirely with vintage synthesizers.
This week the Baltimore-based duo are in London to lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy, and they’ll be performing for the Academy at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday (12 January) alongside Carl Craig, Moritz von Oswald and others. For more information and tickets, click here.
01: JOHN HASSELL / BRIAN ENO
FOURTH WORLD VOL.1 – POSSIBLE MUSICS
(EDITIONS EG LP, 1980)
FACT: Why this particular record?
M. C. Schmidt: “It’s partially a personal experience that made this record especially important to me…In 1981 or so, in high school, I had gotten into a furious fight with all my friends but one. We decided to deal with our ostracization by taking some LSD.
“We waited and the drug didn’t take effect. Evening fell, we went to the record store and browsed and I picked up a copy of Fourth World and was looking at the cover. Suddenly I realized I had been looking at the cover for half an hour or more.The chemicals had worked. It was to be the trip of a lifetime.
“We decided to deal with our ostracization by taking some LSD…”
“I knew who Brian Eno was from being played – and loving – Before and After Science and Here Come The Warm Jets, but this looked more like science than a rock record! Of course, I bought it and took it home, but it’s impact on me in the record store was to somehow prevent me from actually playing it…So we listened to [Eno's 1977 LP] Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy instead, and were suitably dissolved, projected, mocked and informed.
“It was to be weeks before I actually listened to Fourth World, but I did so with a new mind, with a deeply ingrained chemical respect for the pseudo-science that Eno frequently brought to the way his music during that period was presented.”
Hassell once remaked that he regretted having Eno’s name on the sleeve. To what degree do you feel Eno’s fingerprint is there in the music?
MCS: “By now, of course, I’ve realized that really Fourth World was a Jon Hassell record and Eno’s name was a come-on – Hassell records without Eno were just as shifty, funky and otherworldly as that one. Not to denigrate at all Mr Eno’s super-genius. I certainly think that the teaming brought many people to Hassell’s work who would not have otherwise had the treat.
“The other great Hassell records of that time include Aka Darbari Java and Fourth World Vol.2, but he continues to turn out beautiful, listenable sandscape funk to this day.”