From The Desk Of Matmos: Joe Brainard’s “I Remember”

Here’s the first thing to know: The album—all of it, every sound on its single 40-minute track—is played on a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washing machine. The second thing you need to know is that Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel, who’ve recorded a series of brainy, witty sample-and-sound compositions under the sobriquet Matmos over nearly two decades, understand with total clarity what a gimmicky project this might sound like, on the merits. But Ultimate Care II was designed from the start to be a less weighty composition than many other Matmos projects—like A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure, which used sound samples from surgery clinics as its building blocks, or The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast, whose songs are each dedicated to a gay public figure, often of some controversy—that inspired the duo in some way. Schmidt and Daniel will be guest editing all week. Read our new Matmos feature.


Daniel: A snappy collage artist who described himself as both “sensual” and “ga-ga,” Joe Brainard also wrote this book that’s juicier and more true to the grain of everyday life than lots of the books written by people who call themselves writers for a living. It’s called I Remember, and it’s small and cute enough to often be stocked by the cash register at art-museum gift shops, but its contents are wilder than that and harder to pin down. The idea is easy. Every section of this book is the same: short chunks that start with “I remember,” and then you get amazing slices of existence, cropped and separated like Kraft singles: “I remember my first erections. I thought I had some terrible disease or something.” “I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.” If you want a bonus round, Oulipo master George Perec wrote a sequel in French based on Brainard’s recipe, and you can read that, too. Or just start to remember your own life in a new way because of Brainard’s portability.

Video after the jump.