The Consuming Flame

Image of Matmos - The Consuming Flame
Record Label
Thrill Jockey

About this item

Matmos have a playful nature often lacking in electronic composition, bristling with a palpable sense of wide-eyed discovery undiluted across their 25 years as a band. M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel are long-known for their practice of unusual sampling and experimenting with conceptual restrictions.  ‘The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises In Group Form’ is both a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the backlash against ‘conceptronica’ and their most ambitious project to date. The record is oriented around a deceptively simple commitment. 99 different musicians were asked to contribute: they could play anything that they wanted but the tempo of any rhythmic material had to be set at 99 beats per minute. The resulting album is a three-hour long assemblage that’s a kaleidoscope of genre, mood and density, while all synchronized to a constant underlying tempo. There’s a relentless forward-motion keeping more with traditions of pirate radio and mixtapes than the traditional album format. 

‘The Consuming Flame’ was composed through the act of invitation and the album’s 99 participants are, even for Matmos, wildly eclectic. Some collaborators have worked with Matmos for years (J. Lesser, Jon ‘Wobbly’ Leidecker, Mark Lightcap, Josh Quillen of So Percussion, Vicki Bennett) and some are near total strangers. There are players from the conservatory-trained world of ‘new music’ (Kate Soper, Bonnie Lander, Ashot Sarkissjan, Jennifer Walshe) and figures from the extreme music underground (Blake Harrison of Pig Destroyer, Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen, Terence Hannum of Locrian), as well as auteurs from the world of ‘noise’ music (Twig Harper, Moth Cock, Bromp Treb, Id M Theft Able) as well as writers (Douglas Rushkoff, Colin Dickey) and conceptual artists (Heather Kapplow). There’s distinguished alumni and contemporary luminaries of electronic music (Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma of Mouse on Mars, Daniel Lopatin, DeForrest Brown Jr., J. G. Thirlwell, Matthew Herbert, Rabit, Robin Stewart and Harry Wright of Giant Swan) and artists associated with indie rock and folk traditions (Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew of Yo La Tengo, Marisa Anderson) and undergraduates who took M.C. Schmidt’s ‘Sound As Music’ course during the final year of The San Francisco Art Institute’s existence.


CD 1

Cold Open
I, Voxelman
Adam’s Apple
Athens New Guinea
Gas Can Japan
Circle Of Swords
Virgin Unspotted
No Concept
In The Shape Of Beasts
Revelatory Mint Clot
Western Clot Rider
Cocktail Party How Glad Am I
I’m Fine I’m Fine

CD 2

Garden Of Tall Boys
Dancing Your Animal
Nice Men In Stable Relationships
Let Us In
Io! Lavendar River Karez
The Void At The Center
I Know What I Saw
The Dead City Of Telphar
Reciprocal Realms
I’m On The Team

CD 3

Blessed Order Of
Goodnight Loving Bose Ikard
Tworivers Run
Circle Of Shivers
Out Of The Serpent’s Mouth
Warm Opening
It Isn’t Necessarily The Case
All Of The Powers Lie Quiet

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