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The Civil War [VINYL]

Matmos Vinyl
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Biography

Expanding upon the ambitious premise of their “Ganzfeld EP” , Baltimore based electronic duo Matmos will release their first new full length album in five years on Thrill Jockey records: “The Marriage of True Minds”.

Matmos are known for making toe-tapping rhythmic pop out of odd and unusual sound sources. They have always worn genre loosely, but it’s safe ... Read more in Amazon's Matmos Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (22 Sep 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B0000ALWDO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,595 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Regicide
2. Jealous Order of Candied Knights
3. Reconstruction
4. YTTE
5. For The Trees
6. The Stars and Stripes Forever
7. Pelt and Holler
8. The Struggle Against Unreality Begins
9. For the Trees (Return)

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Struggle Against Unreality Begins 12 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I bought this album unfamiliar with Matmos, perhaps unwisely, as this is not music for the uninitiated. The more you listen to it though, the more strange and wonderful parts of it seem. Unusually for the glitchy end of electronica, the music is amazingly evocative and narrational, whole epics of time and place – specifically, in this case, civil-war America. Some of the tracks, in particular the twenty-minute suite of ‘Reconstruction’ and ‘YTTE’ are whole stories in themselves, with marching bands, campfires and fireworks tucked into their varied soundscapes. 'Regicide' opens things off nicely with shuddering beats and waves of chimes and static, while the 'Jealous Order of Candied Knights' is the electronica equivalent of morris dancing (and I don't mean that in bad way!). As you may gather, this is a difficult album to describe, albeit one that may appeal to those beyond the ambient and glitch genres for its pure evocative power. While ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ and ‘Pelt and Holler’ demonstrate the more frustrating side of Matmos’ style, ‘The Struggle Against Unreality Begins’ is the album’s most dramatic moment, which surges abrasively into a thing of some power. A genuine journey.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MATMOS FIND TEXTURE AT LAST 21 Jan 2004
Format:Audio CD
[A foreword: Other than THE CIVIL WAR, I own and am very familiar with A CHANCE TO CUT IS A CHANCE TO CURE and DO YOU PARTY? Opinions and comparisons in my review, therefore, are limited to these albums by Matmos.]
“Micro-beats” virtuosos, Drew Daniel and M. C. Schmidt, find texture for their music at last, on THE CIVIL WAR. Texture, as in an underlying foundation for all their bleeps and crackling sounds to tinkle over. At last, in the sense that such a musical underpinning is precisely what’s missing in their previous compositions, notwithstanding a few significant exceptions (such as the marvellous piece named “Satie,” off Daniel’s DO YOU PARTY?).
What’s rather extraordinary is that they didn’t find such a texture in the layering of drones, hums or other electronically generated bars, in the style of – say – Boards of Canada, Mùm or even Stars of the Lid, just to mention three (very different) groups in the greater electronic music scene. Oddly enough, they located it in a great variety of traditional musical instruments – namely: hurdy-gurdy, banjo, acoustic/electric/bass/dobro guitars, drums, piano, chimes, violin, bassoon, tuba, peck horn, trumpet – played by Matmos themselves but also by a thick group of friends (Blevin Blectum, Mark Lightcap, Steve Goodfriend and several others). This extensive use of traditional instruments, in some cases of instruments from a remote past, makes it possible for THE CIVIL WAR to touch on, and refurbish, several genres that one would be tempted to say have nothing to do with electronic music: 1. medieval popular music (and particularly popular music from medieval Scotland/Ireland and other Northern European countries), 2. American country-folk music and 3.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars elaecktro'clasche 12 Nov 2003
Format:Audio CD
opening to the sound of the middle ages, matmos have at the very least expanded their palette, and probably that of most listeners. the album (which sounds extremely like "storm and stress" towards the back-end) presents the sound of the medieval jig with an electronic aesthetic listeners will be familiar with from vespertine. no point in saying too much, but it IS a very special piece of work, although, admittedly let down when they veer too far into the electro and too far away from the folk music. all in all, i would recommend it to anyone interested in music, regardless of taste, not because its a masterpiece (because its not), but because it combines flavours i've never heard before; which cannot be a bad thing, at all, ever.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matmos find texture 4 Dec 2003
By Vargiu Riccardo James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
[A foreword: Other than THE CIVIL WAR, I own and am very familiar with A CHANCE TO CUT IS A CHANCE TO CURE and DO YOU PARTY? Opinions and comparisons in my review, therefore, are limited to these albums by Matmos.]
"Micro-beats" virtuosos, Drew Daniel and M. C. Schmidt, find texture for their music at last, on THE CIVIL WAR. Texture, as in an underlying foundation for all their bleeps and crackling sounds to tinkle over. At last, in the sense that such a musical underpinning is precisely what's missing in their previous compositions, notwithstanding a few significant exceptions (such as the marvellous piece named "Satie," off Daniel's DO YOU PARTY?).
What's rather extraordinary is that they didn't find such a texture in the layering of drones, hums or other electronically generated bars, in the style of - say - Boards of Canada, Mum or even Stars of the Lid, just to mention three (very different) groups in the greater electronic music scene. Oddly enough, they located it in a great variety of traditional musical instruments - namely: hurdy-gurdy, banjo, acoustic/electric/bass/dobro guitars, drums, piano, chimes, violin, bassoon, tuba, peck horn, trumpet - played by Matmos themselves but also by a thick group of friends (Blevin Blectum, Mark Lightcap, Steve Goodfriend and several others). This extensive use of traditional instruments, in some cases of instruments from a remote past, makes it possible for THE CIVIL WAR to touch on, and refurbish, several genres that one would be tempted to say have nothing to do with electronic music: 1. medieval popular music (and particularly popular music from medieval Scotland/Ireland and other Northern European countries), 2. American country-folk music and 3. experimental rock. Indeed, there is no more than one track on THE CIVIL WAR that could fit into any of their previous works: "Pelt and Holler" is the only piece which is based on sampling, sequencing and mixing alone, while each and every other is more complex by far than anything off their other records (structurally speaking, that is, but also with reference to the ever-shifting "mood" of the piece).
It should be clear by now that THE CIVIL WAR is an impressive collage, an attempt to syncretize styles and/or traditions of music which are generally kept separate, perhaps notwithstanding a common root. The civil war the record title refers to could be thought of as an allusion to more than just the American war of secession. I don't think it would be too far fetched to suppose that Matmos were also jokingly hinting at the clash between music old and new, fast and slow, electronic and instrumental. A clash which, indeed, is often a lot more about the way things are perceived than about the way they actually are. For instance, this record certainly reminds us to which extent popular medieval music was based on repetition, looped sequences, energetic beats. In other words, it reminds us that it was - back then no less than today - "pop," as in "for the masses." Needless to say, it does so in such a cerebral way that, unlike the material it draws on, this CD will never quite suit the average music consumer, let alone the masses (and I mean this in the most neutral way possible: to me, it's neither a good thing nor a bad one).
The vast majority of pieces on THE CIVIL WAR exhibit a playfulness, a fascination with music itself, a desire to explore it for its own sake. This leads to the tracks on the album being rather experimental in tone, as if they were simply a (battle?) ground for Matmos to challenge with the force of their talent and to conquer. Once again then, Matmos are true virtuosos in their field, loving what they do to the point of wanting merely to indulge in it to the fullest. This "inwardness," this Mannerism, this light-hearted toying with music just for the fun of it is what's so unique about this album, but it's also the one thing that some might consider pestering. Although I am highly impressed with THE CIVIL WAR, and indeed find it to be their best output so far, I am inclined to believe that they will truly outdo themselves and express their full potential only when they will veer towards a more "narrative" (as in, less "abstract") form of music. "The Struggle Against Unreality Begins" is good proof of that, I think. This track seems to me to be the highpoint of the record, and in my opinion it is the one and only piece that really appears to want to "reach out," to communicate an intelligible sequence of emotional states. It is the only "humanized" piece, if you will. Then again, this might just be a personal perception: of course the way each person relates to music is very subjective and has to do with too many variables for me to account for.
All in all, the more I listen to THE CIVIL WAR the more I realize that it is an outstanding work of art, a genuine milestone. What will Matmos come up with next?
[Total running time: 45:52; Enhanced CD: contains Mark Boswell's video for "Stars and Stripes Forever"]
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars of rabbit pelts and hurdy-gurdies 30 Sep 2003
By "castlevista" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In 2001's "A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure," Matmos explored the sonic world of plastic surgery, composing microscopic beats from the sounds of noses breaking and fat being sucked through a tube. Disgusting, yes, but the result was incredible. Finally, a music concrete album that sounded completely original! Now, whether by accident or on purpose, it seems Matmos have made the exact opposite of "A Chance to Cut." This time they step back in time to the seventies and eighties to use old analog synts, even more back in time to the American backwoods, employing rabbit pelts for basslines, and, yes, once more to the Medieval ages, using (I'm not lying) hurdy-gurdies, oboes, and violins.
That being said, I think "Civil War" and its predecessor are actually very much alike. They both bounce between upbeat, almost silly songs, to dark, vaguely disturbing, bassy epics. The "Civil War"'s production is excellent, the clicks and beeps programmed to metronomic perfection, and the melodies are as sublimely beautiful as ever.
Only clocking in at about 45 minutes, this album is exhausting. Your emotions are tugged this way and that through nine messed-up but insanely gorgeous songs. This, in my opinion, is the biggest electronic album of the year, not in popularity, but in scope.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Their Best to Date 1 Nov 2003
By M. Starr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I imagine working and touring with Bjork is quite an arduous task for Matmos these days; not to mention the added responsibility of simultaneously trying to produce their own material and solo works (see Do You Party? by Soft Pink Truth). The first thing you'll notice about Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt, however, is that in their journey through experimentation, they have grown tremendously through their experiences. Recently, they appear to have become even more polished with their delivery than on their last album, A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure.
Their latest album, The Civil War, proves this theory and promises to be one of their best releases thus far, with its absence of all the glitch-heavy abstractions of their previous work. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind their glitch work, but change is (more times than not) a good thing. Daniel and Schmidt have become known for their ability to utilize an entire stock pot of instruments and objects to create their cut-and-paste alchemic experiments, but with The Civil War, a lot of these aesthetics have been replaced with a more subtle and conservative approach.
The second song, "Reconstruction," starts off with a somewhat experimental introduction before slowly turning into a mesmerizing piece of laid-back acoustic and steel guitar splendor that, believe it or not, wouldn't be too out of place on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. "For the Trees," found in two versions here, is the culmination of several simplistic samples of guitar and bass that have only been slightly manipulated to add a reminder that Daniel and Schmidt are still influenced by the computer. "Zock" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" are really the only two songs that hint at the idea of this being an album dedicated to the early days of our country.
Most importantly, The Civil War could only be described as Matmos' Kid A. It's the album that will most likely split their audience in half, while probably drawing a much broader crowd to their fan base in the process. This is definitely their best collection of songs yet and will more than likely act as the duo's centerpiece for the long haul. Ultimately, Matmos is doing a very important thing by staying ahead of their own game by moving in a direction that listeners are not going to believe when they hear it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Matmos - The Civil War 28 Feb 2011
By scoundrel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
THE CIVIL WAR is another fascinating concept album from Matmos, this time entwining American Civil War-era instruments and melodies with modern electronica. Well, maybe not "entwining" as simply crashing the two into one another headfirst. Tracks like "Zealous Order of Candied Knights" show their eagerness for experimentation -- and their playful humor. "Reconstruction" is straight-up weirdo house that gives way to a strum-and-twang-fest. "For the Trees" is all folk mellowness, surprisingly light on the electronics, while the marching band standby "Stars and Stripes Forever" gets semi-obliterated by drum riffs. As with all experiments, though, some fail: the bass-heavy "Pelt and Holler" seems misplaced here, and "Yield to Total Elation" lacks focus. But "The Struggle Against Unreality" brings things back, as does the reprise of "For the Trees." Still, it's better to move forward than lean back on your laurels, and Matmos does just that -- even if they go back in time to do it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Track Listing 12 Sep 2010
By LemonspredBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
1. Regicide
2. Zealous Order of Candied Knights
3. Reconstruction
4. Yield To Total Elation
5. For the Trees
6. The Stars and Stripes Forever
7. Pelt and Holler
8. The Struggle Against Unreality Begins
9. For the Trees (Return)
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