Song Book

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All songs written and played by Mattin

Recorded in mono with the microphone incorporated in a Pismo portable computer
Mastered by Taku Unami
Drawing by Tomoya Izumi

Released in September 2005

“Computer mavericks Mattin and Taku Unami have collaborated and toured together several times over the last few years. Their 2004 duo release, Shirio no Computer (Dead Spirit’s Computer) played with the idea of zombies reanimating the corpse of digital music, only to help it to commit suicide again. The album is a rapt yet austere mix of delicate rattling, feedback manipulation and utter silence. Both artist approach computer music with ambivalence-simultaneous contempt and affection. Similar ambivalence surfaces on Mattin’s solo Song Book, released by Unami’s Hibari label. According to the sleeve, Mattin has recorded himself with the mono microphone of a Pismo. Surely you have to be in love with computers to even know that Pismo is the nickname of the Apple G3 Firewire Powerbook. And how perverse is to record 22 songs through the Pismo’s abysmal mono mic? it’s the laptop equivalent of a hissy cassette demo, a prolonged sneer at high fidelity recording. Much about the cheerfully unlistenable release smacks on the conceptual artwork. Known as a provocative computer minimalist and political artist, Mattin reinvents himself here as a shambolic singer-songwriter with Spanish lyrics (Mattin is Basque) and acoustic guitar. He sounds distracted, disenchanted and far from taking himself seriously. The guitar is never in tune, the rhythms are incoherent, the songs half-written. We glimpse other possible selves from parallel Mattin universes: the melancholy balladeer of “Matame Bien”, stumbling across melody as if sleepwalking; or the embryonic grunge of “Simpatia”, easy to imagine in a electric group version. Two songs explore an old harmonium, while “Let Me Your Leg Baby” is an outburst of surreal energy, a garbled parody of an uptempo English Drunk.”

Clive Bell, the Wire