Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr With modern living reliant on the extensive use of electronic appliances, there’s something almost hypnotic about the whirring of household machines. Refrigerators hum in the background, the white noise of fans whir us to sleep and the sudsy machinations of dishwashers can provide a sort of strange comfort. One of the most revolutionary appliances to enter the modern home was the washing machine, reducing what could easily be a day’s worth of vigorously hand-scrubbing laundry to a simple chore of loading and button-pushing. With the washing machine such an integral convenience of daily life, it’s appropriate that everything-but-the-kitchen-sink experimental duo Matmos have made an album consisting entirely of sounds produced from one. What’s most remarkable about Ultimate Care II is that creating music with a washing machine doesn’t rank anywhere near the oddest musical source used by Matmos’ M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel. After all, 1998’s sophomore effort, Quasi-Objects, relied on random sounds from around their home, and they’ve notoriously used freshly cut hair, noises form surgical procedures and even “the amplified neural activity of crayfish” in their music. With that in mind, a washing machine is almost mundane for these two. Thankfully, the results are anything but. Ultimate Care II, named after the model of washing machine itself, finds Matmos reaching out into some truly otherworldly sonic spaces through one of the most quotidian appliances. As you can imagine, the usual operation of the machine opens the album and resurfaces throughout—the album even consists of one continuous 38-minute track, a runtime that coincides with the length of a typical laundry cycle. But the duo spends plenty of time finding creative ways to conjure music from their Whirlpool. With the collaboration of Dan Deacon, Half Japanese’s Jason Willett and several other guests, Matmos claims to have “rubbed and stroked and drummed upon and prodded and sampled and sequenced” this machine to create Ultimate Care II. After the initial cranking of the dial and subsequent rush of water, the album moves into driving percussive thumps (not unlike running a pair of tennis shoes through the dryer). Sounds often mimic actual instruments, as with the eerie horn-like blasts that rise up. The album turns oddly cosmic early on, with chiming bleeps, metallic shrieks, high-pitched peals and roving noises befitting the inner workings of a UFO. Just as a particular sequence threatens to become a bit too grating on the ears, Matmos mellows us out again, often with the return of a swishy wash cycle wrapped in moody atmospherics. Midway through the sudsy surreality of this record, the washer pulses underneath a metallic squall, an almost heartbeat-like rhythm providing a soothing undercurrent. By the album’s tail end, the duo drops all restraint and wails on the washing machine, producing a cacophonously percussive climax. In 2013’s The Marriage of True Minds, Schmidt and Daniel turned to parapsychological experiments involving sensory deprivation as the basis to construct their music. There’s a stark shift from attempting to “transmit the concept of the new Matmos record” into the minds of test subjects to their current approach of banging on a washing machine. The more grounded form of production, however, doesn’t ever quite reach the heights of the ominous, transcendent and often quite danceable True Minds. Instead, Ultimate Care II can border on abrasive at times, and perhaps a bit too impenetrable at others. But overall, this newest album is another successful experiment. For a duo whose eccentric approach could easily get mired in novelty if they’re not in top form, Matmos’ washing machine album once again finds them coming out crisp and fresh.