Live Review

Matmos, XOYO, London

It’s a rare sight to see such electronic trickery performed and paraded with such a remarkable sense of unadulterated joy.

The uninitated would be forgiven for thinking this was a near-metal homage to Manchester’s finest punk rockers when watching Matmos absolutely tear into a cover of the Buzzcocks ‘ESP’. And while it certainly was a loving tip of the hat, but, like everything with Matmos, if you take songs and performances out of their context, it seems baffling and maybe even cold. However, fit the pieces together and you have an unlikely but no less life-affirming mix of pounding electronica and wry, good-humoured commentary from the duo behind the concepts: MC Schmidt and Drew Daniel.

Supporting the duo are the collage, cut-up music and film experiments of Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us. Her piece, ‘Consequences (One Thing Leads To Another)’, is an often demented but mainly inspiring melange of assorted film footage assembled and de-assembled, creating a unsettling, catastrophic filmic prelude to the main event. Described by Schmidt – perhaps jokingly, perhaps not – as a ‘national treasure’ – the skill and precision in Bennett’s audio and visual mixing is startling and wondrous to experience.

No strangers to cut-up assemblage themselves, Matmos’ most recent album, ‘The Marriage Of True Minds’ – based upon experiments in telepathic communications – is so drenched in its outré framework that it can be difficult to derive enjoyment from the resulting execution. This is not the case tonight. The banter between Schmidt, darkly intoning as the voice of reason and who manages to play, or mutate, a couple of balloons into a very effective musical instrument, and Daniel is warm, smart and even touching. Bolstered by guitar and live drum kit, the swirling ragas and trance-like repetitions of ‘Very Large Green Triangles’ and ‘Aetheric Vehicle’ purr and soar with extra muscle and bite. It’s a rare sight to see such electronic trickery performed and paraded with such a remarkable sense of unadulterated joy but on tonight’s performance alone, Matmos positively throb and thoroughly gristle.

Tags: Matmos, Features

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