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Rat Relocation Project

Rat Relocation Project
(Locust Records)

Matmos is one of those groups that I will be interested in no matter what they're doing. I own their entire catalog (including their awesome collaboration with Rachel's) and I think that they're some of the best sound designers working today. In addition to that, I'm a sucker for albums based on conceptual ideas and the Met Life Series is one of the neater ideas I've heard of lately. In this location sound series (of which this release is volume 6), artists take a field recording of their choice of a certain environment (Keith Fullterton Whitmans Dartmouth Street Overpass is still my personal fave of the series) and then remix that sound source.

The basic theory is that you have two tracks, one original and one remixed version of the field recording. For their original recording, Matmos took a recording of a rat they captured in their apartment with a no-kill cage. Although it may be easy to draw a straight line to their "For Felix" track (from A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure album), this is in fact a much different beast. The field recording is just that, as you hear clanks and clunks and occasionally a high-pitched squeal (my dogs absolutely hated the sound). It's interesting, but at 13 minutes simply goes on for far too long.

The 'remixed' version of this track is an absolute hodgepodge collage, going through sections that sound like splattercore breakbeats and others that sound like dirty krautrock. The pieces of music come in 2 or so minute chunks, and they're interspersed with heavily manipulated pieces of rat cage noise from the original, giving the whole thing a herky-jerky feel that never really gathers much steam or works very well. On one hand, it could be looked at as a musical interpretation of the rat banging around in the cage (in which not a whole lot happens except for the squeals that really wake you up once in awhile), but it's simply not too interesting of a track for repeated listening. Combined, the two tracks run just under 30 minutes and there's simply not enough to hold your interest in that time. While the whole thing has a happy ending (the rat was released into a wealthy suburb), this is a sound experiment that's only for the hardcore.

Rating: 5.75