Xqui feat. Mat Smith – All The T-Shirts I Wore In Lockdown in cooperation with Mortality Tables
A unique cooperation with Mat Smith’s Mortality Tables imprint and outsider electronic artist Xqui in context of the now ending cassingle series.
Concept Notes by Mat Smith:
“On March 19th 2020, the company I worked for asked me to work from home with immediate effect. The initial expectation was that this would last no more than two weeks.
Initially, it was novel and liberating: I’d been used to commuting fifty miles to London for nearly twenty years, usually in a suit and tie. In the first days of what became known as ‘lockdown’, we were still very much operating in a world of audio conference calls, and rarely ever used video. That meant I could wear whatever I wanted, and didn’t need to conform to any sort of corporate uniform. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to work my way through my entire t-shirt collection, in the order that they were stacked on the shelf in my wardrobe.
At first, I thought it would be fun to maintain a list of all these t-shirts, in the order that I wore them, and that ongoing list became one of the earliest Mortality Tables Products. It was also a way of measuring an uncertain time – to see how many I could wear before lockdown ended. I figured I’d make it to fourteen, maybe twenty. Instead I worked my way through all 55 t-shirts that I owned at that time, at least twice, and possibly three times. What started out as something fun became a necessary ritual – something methodical and predictable in a world where all certainties had been upended; something I could control. I also recognise that it was a portent of a mental breakdown that I would experience several months later.
As the Mortality Tables project moved from a purely conceptual idea to a more visible state, the idea of collaborating with the superpolar Taïps cassette label emerged. Various potential Products from the Mortality Tables Catalogue were discussed, progressed and discounted, before we finally agreed upon ‘All The T-Shirts I Wore In Lockdown’ as part of their much-loved cassette single release programme. The intentionally serious whimsicality of this Mortality Tables Product was felt to be a logical complement to the overall aesthetic of the series.
The superpolar Taïps cassette single series has included releases from. Hualun, Whettman Chelmets, Chorchill and Adderall Canyonly since it began in 2020. superpolar Taïps have chosen ‘All The T-Shirts I Wore In Lockdown’ to become the 35th and final release in the series.
The narrated list was recorded in June 2023 in the bathroom of the Premier Inn Hub in Shoreditch, London. The list was then re-recorded at my home in Woburn Sands, in the room that I worked from in the initial stages of lockdown, in July 2023. The narration was then handed to anonymous outsider electronic artist Xqui, a regular Mortality Tables collaborator, to develop a sonic response to accompany the narration. His response was completed in July 2023. An instrumental version (‘No Shirts’) was created for the B-side of the cassette.
The concept for the cassette sleeve was developed by Mortality Tables design collaborator Neil Coe (Carta Design). His design uses the illustration of a ubiquitous I Heart NY t-shirt by Jason Laurits (Paste, New York), which Laurits then printed onto an otherwise plain white t-shirt. I bought one of these t-shirts from the Paste store in Chelsea Market, NY in 2018. My t-shirt appears as number eight in the narrated list.”
“The ‘Hymns’ album is very cool. The atmospheric effects are perfect.” – Vince Clarke.
“A carefully constructed, intelligent and mature work from a musician very much in control of his art… This is full blown hauntology.” – We Are Cult
“Pausing any of these tracks to attend to other things was like breaking a spell.” – Fortitude Magazine “As good as Basinski, and neck and neck with the degenerative sounds of Eno’s best.” – TQ
ABOUT MORTALITY TABLES
“In an effort to circumvent our unalterable mortality, we create. We make SOUNDS, ART, WORDS. These things are our INSURANCE against death.”
– Mortality Tables, On Mortality, Immortality & Charles Ives (2022)
E Peritia Ratio: reason from experience.
Nothing happens without context. Every event has a catalyst. There is no such thing as a blank page.
So it goes that each Mortality Tables Product must begin with an outline of an initial creative concept – a thought; a notion; a moment of serious whimsy; a considered reflection on life, memory, love, loss, trauma, death.
We document those ideas, then invite collaborators to respond freely to them.
They may ignore us. They may say no. They may say yes. Whoever we invite to participate shall be unencumbered by restriction, constraint, expectation, convention, limit or judgement.
There are never any right or wrong answers, because there are no questions. There is nothing more than the idea and the response.
ABOUT SUPERPOLAR TAÏPS
superpolar Taïps is a small cassette and net label focusing on experimental pop music released on limited edition albums, EPs and singles. It is run by independent artist bleed Air and based in Cologne.
Its roster comprises artists from all over the world, spawning from continental Europe to the UK, US and further towards Asia.
In addition to the cassette single series, releases such as the albums by Guido Möbius, five Bubble criteria and Modelbau received decent attention from acclaimed music media.
superpolar Taïps is not for profit.
label for experimental pop music
released November 3, 2023
Produced and mixed by Xqui, July 2023
Narration: Mat Smith
Design: Neil Coe
Illustration used with kind permission of Jason Laurits & Paste
All proceeds from this release will be paid to the CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Kölner Tafel charities.
The 35th (and final) superpolar Taïps cassette single release SPT49 (as part of the respective series started in 2020).
A Mortality Tables Product MTP8