David Abravanel on Aug 20th 2008 12:05 am


PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

DD: You said you were going to get really geeky, but then you never did.

MS: Yeah, bring on the geek!  I see the word ‘IRCAM’ written in your notes.

Oh, we’ll get to that, but first, some other words.  You took this vow of synthesizer-chastity for Supreme Balloon – not even vocoders.  I came up with a bunch of cool ways to cheat – what about FFT? [FFT, a Fast Fourier Transform, is a synthesis which can deconstruct any sampled sound into a complex series of sine waves]

MS: Honestly, it wasn’t a synthesizer thing, really, the only rule was ‘no microphones’.  We were allowed to use any kind of signal generation, as long as it didn’t involve microphones.  Of course, the trick is the slip between what is a microphone, any kind of transducer?  Is a guitar pickup a microphone or not? Continue Reading »

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David Abravanel on Aug 20th 2008 12:04 am


PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

So, as a side note, you’re both on [a site where students can anonymously weigh in on their professors].  Have you checked your hotness ratings lately?

DD:  I haven’t.  Last time I looked, Martin was ‘hot’, but I don’t think I’ve been rated at Hopkins yet.

MS:  Do you remember what he’s [Drew’s] rated as?

I don’t remember, I just remember there was a really eerie post for you, Martin, which just said in all caps, ‘MARTIN WILL HELP.  MARTIN WILL HELP’.

MS:  [laughs] I always said to my students that it was a lifetime contract, and that they could call me any time and I would help them.  And sure enough, two weeks ago, the phone rang in Slovenia or some place, in the middle of the night.  It was a student of mine from five years ago asking, ‘I need to make a DVD, and I don’t have DVD Studio Pro.  What should I do?’  The answer was, sorry to her for saying so, but the answer was idiotically simple.  I asked, ‘are you using a Mac?  Use iDVD!’   She was like, ‘oh.  Thanks Martin!’  And I went back to sleep!

DD:  So she probably wrote that ‘MARTIN WILL HELP’ immediately. Continue Reading »

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David Abravanel on Aug 20th 2008 12:02 am


PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

Before meeting with Matmos, Martin Schmidt called me to dispense some words of warning: ‘just so you know, we tend to go on’.  This would certainly be the case, as Schmidt, along with Drew Daniel, kept me thinking on my toes for the better part of an hour, traversing such topics as aestheticism, synthesizers, and, well, Zac Efron.  Presently on tour supporting their latest release, Supreme Balloon, Schmidt and Daniel, joined intermittently by tour mate (and longtime friend and collaborator) Wobbly, gave themilkfactory an engrossing earful, which is shared with you now, with great pleasure.  Do read on… Continue Reading »

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MATMOS: Supreme Balloon (Matador Records)

themilkman on May 14th 2008 10:28 pm

Matmos: Supreme Balloon

Supreme Balloon
Matador Records 2008
07 Tracks. 59mins21secs

Since they appeared, over ten years ago, with their eponymous debut album, Matmos, the then San Francisco-based project of two truly eccentric and inventive artists, Drew Daniel and Martin C. Schmidt, have redefined the boundaries of their own experimental universe with each new release. In many cases, Matmos have devised a record around a specific rule and have adhered to it, most famously on their 2001 A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure, which was painstakingly constructed out of noises and sounds sourced from medical equipment, surgical interventions and body fluid, or on its follow up, The Civil War, which made good use of ancient musical instruments.

With Supreme Balloon, Matmos have turned their own experimentation on its head by dropping their usual paraphernalia of found sounds, collected in more or less unusual situations, to create an entire album based on sounds created using all sorts of vintage synthesizers, the list too long to mention here. Continue Reading »

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