Matena, the brain trust behind this fractured musical project, understands the
value of a great name. He took his musical moniker from the title of OMD’s 1984
album, obviously understanding the deeper implications of such a loaded pair of
with the name, Matena (like Illegal Art labelmate Girl Talk) mines the detritus
of decades of pop culture, stitching together a laundry list of song samples
and random bits of noise to make new compositions. Some are recognizable
(you’ll catch a bit of “Feel Good, Inc.” here or a taste of
“Take The Money And Run” there), many are lost under washes of reverb
and static or choppy edits. The result is a head-spinning batch of tracks that
make for a brilliant soundtrack to the quick clicking, constantly updating,
always plugged in species that we are devolving into.
A track like
“American Minute Song” plays out like a car stereo with a malfunctioning
scan feature jumping forward and back with trills of rhythm, vocal hits and
synth noise. Then he drops the aforementioned Steve Miller Band drum sample
that leaps to a bit of easy listening organ accompanied by a hip-hop beat. And
then back it goes into something approximating disco before speeding up into
oblivion and on to the next track.
playing it straight, which happens only on the EP’s opening track “West
Coast,” you still get the sense that you are shaky ground. Pretty soon the
cracks start appearing in the foundation and the whole thing crumbles in front
of you. It’s sure as hell a lot of fun sifting through the rubble.
Standout tracks: “American Minute
Song,” “For Elise” ROBERT HAM