For those who thought the endearingly eggheaded conceptualists in Matmos could not get more cerebral — this is a duo, after all, whose music has been sourced from the sounds of surgery, digitally deconstructed 19th-century battlefield hymns and readings of the serpentine philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein — consider The Marriage of True Minds. The concept is intriguing: Willing test subjects submitted to sensory-deprivation techniques, then “listened” as Matmos member Drew Daniel tried to telepathically communicate the concept for the new Matmos album to them. Recordings of the resulting interactions (the spoken ones, of course, but who knows if that’s all?) figure into each of the songs on The Marriage of True Minds, which covers all kinds of strange ground.
How exactly the idea for the album figures into the actual tracks is hard to tell, but it’s clear from the way that “You” wanders mysteriously before bursting open into a full-bodied dance track that Matmos have an increasingly real command over what they’re doing musically. The fidgets and tricks employed in their production work sound looser, more natural and free, and that gives a real sense of play to sounds that have sometimes in the past proven to be otherwise stiff and sterile. On top of all that is an infectious sense of Matmos — in bizarre tracks like “Ross Transcript” (like a trip down a demented radio dial) and “Teen Paranormal” (a surprisingly accomplished and cool night-drive electro vamp) — being as weird as they want to be. And better at it too.