Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel found the inspiration for their latest album in the basement of their house with an object that for most of us inspires only drudgery. A washing machine. The pair made an album of music almost entirely out of sounds sampled from their washer.
This is not the first time Schmidt and Daniel have relied on an unexpected instrument to make an album. The duo have an electronic band called Matmos, which is famous for doing things like making music out of surgery sounds and sampling the neural activity of crayfish. Now with their most recent album, "Ultimate Care II," they can add a Whirlpool washing machine to their repertoire.
Schmidt and Daniel started Matmos in the Bay Area. They worked with Icelandic singer Bjork and performed at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. They have since moved to Baltimore, where they harnessed the Whirlpool in their basement to make "Ultimate Care II," their first album in three years. The previous record, "The Marriage of True Minds," involved deprivation tanks, parapsychological experiments and a remake of a song from the late '70s called "E.S.P."
"Ultimate Care II" has only one track, and it is about the length of a wash cycle. If you listen to the excerpt above, you should be able to pick out a few sounds that will remind you of the last time you did your laundry. Perhaps with your next load you'll feel a little less drudgery. Maybe you'll even be compelled to try a little drumbeat of your own on the metallic top of your washer. You'll find that it makes quite a pleasant sound.