Letters from Somnolescent December 8, 2023

The mtlx Chronicle II

by mariteaux

Back in January 2020, dcb wrote up his search for an elusive indie-electronic EP released on MP3.com: mtlx’s Last Summer. While he located a CD case for it at the library, the disc was missing–and unfortunately, the trail went cold from there.

The original art from the original release of Last Summer

I’m happy to bring you the entirety of Last Summer now! Yes, it’s been located, along with some words from one of its equally-elusive creators. Better yet, Somnolescent has been given the go-ahead to release a restored and expanded limited edition CD of the EP. Let me bring you up to speed. Apologies if I sound a little odd, it’s been an exciting day.

Locating Last Summer

Without much to go on, Last Summer became sort of Somnolescent lore, something we’d hope to find someday in an eBay listing or get some more details on from somebody (I can relate–I will locate Songs From the Ship someday, I fucking will). Imagine everyone’s surprise when a ProtonMail message from one half of mtlx landed in dcb’s inbox, the song “Postage Stamps” attached to it:

Hey E,

(are you a fan of the Eels? their singer calls himself E too.)

Read your blog post about mtlx, and I don’t know if you ever managed to find a copy of our EP, but I’ve asked my brother and he said he’ll look for his copy. Mine has apparently gone missing – but I did find this MP3 from when we were looking at maybe doing more singles from it. Enjoy that ancient kooky Jean Houston sample, haha.

We were mtlx, if it wasn’t obvious. I’m happy to answer whatever other questions you’ve got about it. And I’ll send more MP3s when I find them again.


Three days later, an MP3 copy of the entire EP, encoded with Xing circa 2000, dropped in a Google Drive link. Everybody went nuts. Everything was so much more evocative than we could’ve imagined, not to mention catchier. There was a big, long guitar solo at the end of it! The search was long over.

“R”, as he signed that first email, has been incredibly generous with all our digging. (R stands for Robert, last name withheld by request, and one half of the brother duo that produced Last Summer.) These days, he’s not much into music, but just on our request, him and his brother combed through their houses looking for a copy of this thing and were happy to answer any questions we had about how it was put together, gear, all that.

Just today, December 8th, an old CD-R arrived in a bubble mailer for me. It was the uncompressed master tape transfer for Last Summer, from back when they made it with a CD burner, along with the photo they scanned in to make the original cover. I’ve ripped it, and it now lives on my Bandcamp and my YouTube for your listening pleasure.

We can’t thank Robert and Taylor enough–for the kickass EP, for their time, for their willingness to mail us their fucking duplication masters. Robert’s given me this final word, which will be included in the booklet for the limited edition run of Last Summer CDs I’ll be producing and mailing out:

We made this album over the span of 2000 on an eight-year-old 8-track multitrack recorder, a ton of synthesizers, and a busted CR-78 pawned off on us by a friend. We didn’t know shit about dance music or techno or whatever. We were rock kids. We played in bands, we liked heavy guitars. We ran those synths through our pedalboards. There’s a guitar solo on the last song because we got bored of keyboards.

We had a lot of different influences at the time. We stole from everyone from the Lemonheads to Brian Eno. Taylor and I got really big into throwaway cassettes, consciousness seminars, sermons, nature tapes. Whatever no one else wanted, we put through the 8-track and marveled at the kooky undertones they created. It was such a free-spirited time, just figuring out how to play keys and use a sequencer.

Somehow, it did numbers for a few months on MP3.com. Then MP3.com shit itself. Neither of us thought to upload it someplace else. It wasn’t until I found a blog about it on Somnolescent that I even remembered it existed. I don’t do music anymore, those synths have long since gone to the pawn shop, and Taylor is an exotic veterinarian in Wisconsin now. Still, I guess the interest is there.

Thanks to Somnolescent, through their new imprint Bulb on 45, we give you this expanded and cleaned up edition of Last Summer.

Listening back, I’m glad it’s out there again. Take care.

one half of mtlx (pronounced “metallics”, if you were wondering)

CD reissues!

So yes! Like I said, I also have the original photo that was scanned and edited to make the original, blue cover of Last Summer. It was hue-shifted–the actual original photo is an incredibly vibrant yellow sunset. I thought it fitting that the new version, completely rescanned and redone by me, use the original colors:

Artwork template for the expanded, restored Last Summer

This new CD issue will come with a glossy eight-page booklet and a selection of early versions of the mtlx tracks, some of which we’ve been clinging on to since we located them in years past. It’ll be the definitive package, no doubt–if you’re interested, watch that Bandcamp link. I will have a handful available as merch if you’d like one. The Somnolians get first dibs, of course. We’re stingy like that.

Tags: mtlx, music,

About mariteaux

Somnolescent's webmaster with way too much to write about and a stack of CDs he'll never finish.

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