Mattin & Matthew Bower

A New Form Of Beauty (1975)

CD / B-BOY 029

With the release of A New Form of Beauty Irish band Virgin Prunes placed themselves firmly on the map of experimental post-punk. This was the unprecedented cathartic musical experience of the early eighties. Din Glorious was the name of the breathtaking coda of this legendary Prunes session. This type of harrowing noise is also evident on Mattin & Matthew Bower’s A New Form of Beauty (1975). Not a follow-up but a magnificent, searing chords of chords. Basque noise expert Mattin has undoubtedly found his blood brother in Matthew Bower, the British godfather of noise-rock. In his Theses on Noise (2006) Mattin wrote: The old conception of Noise was to believe in freedom; the new conception of Noise is to achieve freedom. This is noise with a higher aim, this is noise as utopian ideal. 

Using guitars and electronics, Mattin and Bower mould a relentlessly pounding tsunami of sound. No time to catch your breath in this long, thundering tornado of noise, feedback, distortion and screaming strings. A screeching guitar occasionally lifts its head above the whirling maelstrom. Ghostlike sounds rise towards the surface of this sonic mass; is that a wailing, desolate violin or a radio I hear in the distance? Am I hallucinating or is this indeed that new beauty?

Mattin & Bower far exceed the pain threshold. No need to prick up your ears; expect your eardrums to be pierced. Just when you think calm has returned, the duo decides to increase the dose. At the end of their piece Mattin & Bower reveal an unparalleled vertiginous abyss of noise. The listener is transported from high to higher plateaus of sound. Cries for help are suppressed as salvation comes nigh. This is white noise from the dark side. This is indeed a new form of beauty.

'A New Form Of Beauty (1975)' is packed in beautiful new 'envelope' packaging designed and handprinted by Jason Dodge & Christine Roland.



Volcanic Tongue
New collaboration between Matthew Bower (Sunroof/Hototogisu/Skullflower et al) and anti-copyright activist/free electronics artist Mattin. Supposedly (and somewhat confusingly) named in tribute to a Virgin Prunes LP (??!!) this new set is some kind of peak for Bower in his decades-long quest for an endlessly enveloping ecstasy sound, as the whole thing just rockets through vector after phantom vector of irradiating white light, what sounds like sunspot activity magnified to the power of punk, infinite orchestras of microtonal fractals and the use of the kind of Ur-chord that would re-tune your entire body. Totally massive, edition of only 250 copies in special envelope style sleeves handprinted by Jason Dodge and Christine Roland. Highly recommended.  David Keenan

The Wire (#283, September 2007)
Reviewed by Josseph Stannard

Oddly enough, but perhaps fittingly, Bower Mattin is the name of an architects' firm based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. it's one of those synchronicities one imagines Bower would appreciate, although any temptation to evoke 'architecture of sound' platitudes are best avoided. Swuiped from Dublin avant Goths The Virgin Prunes, A New Form of Beauty is probably one of Bower's most apposites titles, summing up his aesthtic in five perfect words. This is a considerable less accessible record than Spitting Gold Zebras, though, and less reliant on the gurgling, giggling, and hiccoping that characterise Bower's more playful Sunroof! style.  In its place is a relentless, brain splitering high end assault in which heavily processed guitar is joined by the equally abrasive electronics of Basque noise musician Mattin. et it also has a sense of beauty: its extremity eventually inspires melancholy, especially whn a slender sliver of feedback is allowed to hover precariously above the sheer hellish miasma for a new significant seconds.        

Diskunion (Japan)

英ノイズのベテラン、スカルフラワーのマシュー・バウアーと、バスクの怪人 マッティンのデュオ作品。ギターとデスクトップPCによるコラボレーションだと思われる。容赦ないノイズの嵐が吹き荒れるノイズ作品。マッティン、グレイ ト!!


                                           VITAL WEEKLY                                                                                                   
                                           number   583                                                                                                   
                                           week      27                                                                                                   

Recorded live to cassette to guarantee the gloriously fucked-up lo-fi splendor, this duo work by Mattin on computer feedback and Matthew Bower (Skullflower, Sunroof!, Hototogisu) on guitar and microphone captures a 48-minute outburst of remarkable sonic rawness. This is the kind of music that floods your perception with a full blast of opaque noise from the first to the last minute. Mattin and Bower play a risky game in using a rather limited palette of sounds and going full force right from the beginning, but they succeed in keeping the energy and tension, as they know how to keep coming up with new nuances and structural accents throughout. During the first half of the
piece, Mattin sets up a wall of rumbling and hissing digital feedback noise - static on the surface, but yielding an overflow of complex sounds below - and Bower joins in with aggressive guitar treatments. Without ever drifting into arbitrariness, the structure of this part stays rather amorphous. Later on, though, as
the opacity of the sound decreases slightly, things get tighter and the guitar completely fuses with the now more detailed digital beeps and screeches. Even at a low volume, the music reaches a high level of physical intensity, almost causing actual physical pain. It doesn't have the catchy quality or the trash appeal of some other current manifestations of lo-fi noise. But then again just trying to be more loud or radical than all the others before would seem pretty redundant after all. So, rather than that, "A New Form of Beauty" manages to find an irritating as well as stimulating balance between austerity and excessiveness. (MSS)

Intensity and noise are also the keywords to the collaboration that Bower did with Mattin. Bower on guitar and feedback and Mattin on computer feedback,   recorded to a cassette (although that's hard to believe). Recorded in one go, a forty-eight minute onslaught - again - which is much more singular and    straight forward than the more complex Sunroof. It's a bit hard to guess what the title has to do it, as an old bloke like me thinks of Virgin Prunes right
away, but this single minded attack on the ears is something different. Well, perhaps this is the real new form of beauty - the beauty of ugliness, the  beauty of cruelty. But it's beauty for the true lovers of the genre, whereas Sunroof could appeal to more people. (FdW)                                   

BLOW UP (Italy)

Signore e signori, per il nostro consueto appuntamento con Mattin, questo
mese proponiamo una collaborazione assieme a Matthew Bower a nome ³A New
Form of Beauty 1975². Il titolo omaggia i Virgin Prunes, ma per quanto
l¹operazione che segnò l¹esordio degli irlandesi a inizi ¹80 era ben più che
mostruosa, possiamo tranquillamente dire che il basco e l¹inglese con Gavin
Friday e soci non c¹entrano niente. Qui semmai trovate valanghe di feedback,
chitarre ultradistorte, ampli torturati e bestialità improvvisate per 48
minuti buoni.


Mattin and Matt Bower "A New Form of Beauty (1975)" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matthew Spencer   
Sunday, 22 July 2007
The title claims that Bower and company have created a new form of beauty. Instead they explore the rather conventional aim (for them) of bludgeoning the listener to submission.

This is collaboration between Bower and Basque noise artist Mattin. Its emphasis on harsh noise is similar to Sunroof!'s newest album, Spitting Gold Zebras, only more tedious. The title is homage of sorts to the Virgin Prunes, whose first release is this CD's namesake. I find it misleading because aside from the title there is little musical commonality between the two groups and none of the eclecticism and humor that the Prunes were known for. The lone track is built by a solid yet unvaried riffing buried under brittle, rumbling electronics. These components don't play off each other but continually battle for dominance, never disengaging form spot they are rutted down in. The big chords and riffs are not allowed to decay or ring out in the manner that they demand to, and any sort of modulation or timbral variation in the electronics is masked from hearing.Mattin has stated that the new goal of noise is achieving freedom, but this release sounds for like repression than anything.

He and Bower fall into the familiar conceptual trap of many harsh noise artists; that a piece must at all time maintain a maximum level of abrasiveness in order to intense or compelling. In that approach though, there is no relief that attends freedom, only sounds tensed into shapelessness.

Musique Machine

Go to the Mattin & Matthew Bower website  Mattin & Matthew Bower - A New Form Of Beauty(1975) [Bottrop-Boy - 2007]
The 1975 part of this title rather threw me, and had me wondering if this dates from then but it seems this was recorded this year or last year. Anyway on with music or sound, what we have here is one long and punishing mix of electronics and gitar weaved into a rock jam/noise storm.

Though there is a noise element present here with the wailing feedback pitch and electronic fuzz, most of the 48 minute track is built up from drumless rock guitar jam that sort of wonders over the same few cords again and again, almost having the air of a gone wrong blues sideman keep up a beat or groove. I have to say I prefer for the most part guitar in noise to not be identifiable or playing some sort of normal sound or progression, and that I think is the problem with this- it’s always holding on to that structure and that musically element. The noise element is ok, but hardly ground shaking- it just really amounts to varying static storms of electronics, that sadly don’t go anywere too interesting or exciting. Towards the end it seems to start using some interesting accelerating tones and feed back pricks of sound, but nothing really captivating.

This is really an extended rock jam with noise bits stuck on with very little craft or art in there manipulation. Passable on a slow day for 20 minutes entertainment or so, but otherwise a little dull.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Roger Batty

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