Mattin ‎– Object Of Thought

Presto!? ‎– p!?016
Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM, Limited Edition


A Untitled 14:46
B Untitled 14:59

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Edition of 300 copies / September 2010.

All software manipulation made using Free Software under Puredyne GNU/Linux operating system.




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October 4, 2011
from non-musicology blog

Mattin's Object of Thought works as an x-ray of the flux of thought. It is the diffraction of an objective perspective through the sickness of our personalizing and objectifying internal thoughts. These thoughts, as the sleeve notes point out, are the material for improvisation. What we hear on this vinyl are recordings of Mattin’s self-objectifying perspective. Nowadays Mattin's interventions and performances almost always dispense from any aesthetic considerations in the production of sounds, feeding the situations with conceptual decisions and the material conditions of the events themselves.

Having this in mind, the first times that we listened to Object of Thought (OOT) we did not get the shock that we were expecting. However, we were surprised by the apparent attention put into audio editing – the “taste” employed while choosing sounds and their timings. We almost understood this as a lack of coherence relative to Mattin’s position regarding such considerations. We were listening to a complex elecroacoustic-poetic composition with great richness and care put into its realisation. The sounds that come from the vinyl are those of “quality” – this was something that we were not able to fully understand in relation to our expectations of Mattin’s album.

All this aesthetic content, along with the fragmentation and the superimposition of voices in an unfamiliar language, made it difficult for us to explore the questions that the record is manifesting.

In Mattin / Taku Unami’s CD Attention their questions activate themselves in an immediate manner –and their intentions are explicit and crude – but Object of Thought needs a different type of implication for hearing in order for one to become conscious of the challenge. To dismantle the aesthetic chokehold requires one to consider this process as an expression of the attempt to do a voice “evacuation”.

In the editorial introduction of Nick Land's book Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987-2007, the editors Robin Mackay and Ray Brassier analyze some of the aspects of Land's text 'KatasoniX'. We find this helpful for the analysis of OOT, specifically with regards to Mattin’s attempt at “evacuation”. To detail the performative evacuation of the voice, we quote at length:

As Nietzsche suggested, the structure and usage of the human body is the root source of the system of neurotic afflictions co-extensive with human existence; but bipedalism, erect posture, forward facing vision, the cranial verticalisation of the human face, the laryngeal constriction of the voice, are themselves all indices of a succession of geotraumatic catastrophes separating the material potencies of the body from its stratified actuality. Just as the bipedal head impedes 'vertebro-perceptual linearity', the human larynx inhibits 'virtual speech'. One cannot dismantle the face [the material representation of capitalism] without also evacuation the voice. Since in geotramuatic terms, the human voice itself is-via the various accidents of hominid evolution- the expression of geotrauma, 'stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are […] laden with biopolitical intensity – they threaten to bypass the anthropostructual head-smash that establishes our indentity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers.

Texts such as 'KataconiX' accordingly attempt a performative evacuation of the voice, disintegrating semantics into intensive sequence (notably through the use of extracts from Artaud's notebooks, where 'poetry' slides into delirious combinatorics). One of the tasks of schizoanalysis has now become the decrypting of the 'tics' bequeathed to the human frame by the geotraumatics catastrophe, and 'KatatxoniX' treats vestigal semantic content as a mere vehicle for code 'from the outside': the 'tic' symptoms of geotraumatism manifested in the shape of sub-linguistic clickings and hissings. Already disintegrated into the number-names of a hyperpagan pantheon, syncretically drawing on the occult, nursery rhyme, anthropology, sf, Lovecraft, among other sources, the 'subterranean' current of impressions, correspondences, and analogies' (Artaud) beneath language is now allowed uninhibited (but rigorously-prepared) development, in an effort to corporeally de-engineer the organicity of logos. [1]

To follow the deformations of the voice and the way it might be camouflaged with the noise between the vinyl and the needle – the alterations of pitch – is to perceive how gender may be destroyed by the dilatation of tone. The vocal range is the measure of the amplitude in which the records of the human voice might be realized by the process of phonation.

The alteration of Mattin’s vocal pitch and tone on OOT is a transgender play that we mightn't overlook. Mattin’s digital editing may be similar to the vocal cord surgery that some transsexuals might consider undergoing in order to change the tone of their voice. The transsexual woman that reaches puberty as man usually develops a vocal resister that is characteristic of a "man". Hormonal therapy may not change the voice of a transsexual woman once they have "masculinized". For that reason, the transwoman with intentions of becoming a woman might need vocal training or otherwise surgery in order to feminize their voice. Object of Thought displays Mattin’s non-surgical play with the full ensemble of vocal registers of the transgender.

In an interview for The Wire magazine, the dubstep musician Burial said about his track ‘Archangel’:

B: I like pitching down female vocals so they sound male, and pitching up male vocals so they sound like a girl singing. It can sound sexy as fuck.

W: That works. When I listen to the record, I can’t work out whether the vocals belong to males or females. And angels aren’t supposed to have gender.[2]

In Object of Thought we don't hear angels singing; the voices comes from Genderqueers.

While listening to this record we were reminded of concepts developed by German philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinger. In his book Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity, Metzinger questions “conscious experience”. The book analyses first-person reports of a (sub) class of spontaneously emerging neurological phenomena known as out-of-body experiences (OBE). We find several points in common with Mattin's process in OOT (the materialization of his thoughts and subjectivity in/on the vinyl) and Metzinger’s analysis of the first OBE (sub) model. According to Metzinger, this constituent component-object (here is where we see the link with the material object of OOT) is a representation of the corporeal self from an external visual perspective (or, in the case of OOT, sonic) that does not function as the centre of the global model of reality.

An OBE is non-parapsychologically perceived as one’s body is laying down on a bed, path or surface without distortion or overdrive. Relatively, Object of Thought is not just about spatial self-representation and cognitive self-reference materially expressed on the vinyl, but also an attempt at subjective depersonalisation.

Listening to OOT is an exercise of uncovering the work, a dissection of subjectivity; our game is the same played by Mattin when he is objectifying his thoughts. Is not about perceiving the construction of the object through a sick mannerism. On the contrary, it is about dismantling the process of objectivation: the dismantling of subjectivity through the evacuation of the voice. After some time, we found that it was no longer necessary to ignore the recording’s formal considerations in order to pay full attention to its content: the knot between noise – as chaos and intelligibility – and the noise of objectified thoughts.
The possibility of being assaulted by unexpected harsh noise holds our attention throughout the whole listening experience, but – as with Mattin's solo previous work like Proletarian of Noise or Broken Subject – this noise is beyond an ethics of volume. We will not find a passage where an abysmal noise gets unleashed.

The challenge is to maintain the cord taught, as tight as possible, transforming the intellect in a commodity, while at the same time trying to understand how we are objectified through capitalism.
Perhaps OOT is a schizoid game, rigged with a traps disabling escape from the “inside”, hiding the cracks whereby we might eventuate. In any case, OOT leaves us a carbon copy of subjectivity for analysis. Object of Thought is an object/process of depersonalisation with traces of impact. About these craters we can find a conceptual and epistemological approximation to the reality of the record.

Mattin's identity is digitally processed while his subjectivity becomes abstract matter. The logos becomes numbers:

That's why stammerings, stutterings, vocal tics, extralingual phonetics, and electrodigital voice synthesis are so laden with bipolitical intensity-they threaten to bypass the anthropostrucural head-smash that establishes our identity with logos, escaping in the direction of numbers.[1]

If we take the idea of geotrauma, which refuses the distinction between biology, geology, linguistics and numeracy, we can see how the depersonalisation process on this record is pushed a step further by Mattin’s conscious objectification of his thoughts onto the materiality of the vinyl.

In OOT Mattin's unconscious goes from the organic to the inorganic, passing through digital 0s and 1s. Through this process, Mattin's thoughts – his ego with neuroses and pathologies – are put into the Poly-Vinyl-Chloride (CH2-CHCl)n, which itself has been going through traumatic inorganic tensions arising from archaic xenocatastrophes. Anthropocentricality becomes more and more redundant in OOT: the evacuation of the voice, its consequent digitalisation and its fabrication into the LP mixes biopolitcs with numeracy and geology.

The dehierarchisation process occurring in OOT is at least triple:

1. Thinking is multiplied by its insecurities and doubts: we can hear that tics and stuttering are at the same level as the “better articulated” thoughts.
2. The evacuation of the voice is translated via digital processing (numbers) which are cut throughout the record.
3. Finally these sounds are pressed into the vinyl, but the “silences” allow that one can hear the material qualities of the vinyl itself

In conclusion, it is our opinion that Mattin’s Object of Thought is as sonically refined as Whitenoise (with Radu Malfatti), and as conceptually intense as Attention (with Taku Unami). Object of Thought is Mattin’s most complex release to date.

August 2011

[1] Nick Land, Fanged Noumena, Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2011, p. 502
[2] The Wire, Issue #286 (Dec 07) | In Writing by: Mark Fisher | Featuring: Burial