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The Ganzfeld EP

Matmos celebrates 20 years of experimental music with a psychological thriller

by Karen Day in Design on 15 October 2012

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For their 20th anniversary as both musical and romantic partners, M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel—a duo better known as Matmos—are releasing an evocative new EP that dives deep into the psyche. Dubbed "The Ganzfeld," the intriguing three-track compilation is a literal reflection of four years of telepathic experimentation and research on extra-sensory perception.

Daniel and Schmidt first sequestered each of their test subjects in a dark room, where the person rested on a mattress with halved ping-pong balls covering their eyes and headphones over their ears. A soft red light pervaded as white noise pumped through the headphones, and Daniel asked the person to empty their mind as he attempted to telepathically transmit the concept of their forthcoming Matmos album from an adjacent room. He explains in the liner notes, "The goal is to reduce sensory input through vision and hearing in order to permit other, possibly weaker perceptual pathways to open up."

The participants were asked to verbalize any objects or actions they visualized during the session, which Daniel and Schmidt used as "scores, instructions, source material, blueprints or restrictions." The upshot is a beautifully composed EP, filled with haunting harmonies and an engaging arrangement of test-subject commentary, complete with an animated video for the first track, "Very Large Green Triangles." To capture the visual essence of their experiment, Matmos tapped their longtime friends at L.inc productions and director Ed Apodaca, who says they worked without consulting the band and were instead inspired by psychic cues, album covers of '70s progressive rock bands and science fiction from the '80s. "We sought to create a beautiful, trippy, fun, energetic and slightly spooky rethinking of the song. The video interprets the psychic session as a full arc from everday details to larger and larger scales of Very Large Green Triangulation," says Apodaca.

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In celebration of their own anniversary and such an extensive creative process for Ganzfeld, Matmos teamed up with record label Thrill Jockey for a deluxe limited edition package that includes a special set of space-age Incase headphones, Ganzfeld goggles and a signed certificate of authenticity.

The Ganzfeld EP and deluxe edition will be available tomorrow on Thrill Jockey. Keep an eye out for the full album, "The Marriage of True Minds," which will release in early 2013.

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