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Matmos and So Percussion, January 22, 2006

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 Last night the San Franciscan duo proved what Kid 606 told us years ago: Matmos are the A-Team of Electronica.  They packed in a capacity crowd at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, which, thanks to Dan Hisch is becoming the definitive place for the best concert experiences.  Matmos performed new music from their forthcoming album, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast, joined by the opening four-piece ensemble from New York, So Percussion, on a few tracks of theirs, a track of So's and a new collaboration of the two.

It's not far-fetched to say Matmos could be the new Coil, in the sense that their music is technologically challenging, progressively thinking, and deliciously entertaining without being cliche, derivative, or contextually self-referential. Their influences lie more in counter-popular-culture literature than other musicians who have walked the same roads and they present challenges to themselves for the harnessing of sound and composition of music. They also get better every time and anybody who gets the chance to see them live in concert this time around will be very fortunate.

So Percussion opened the show with a handful of short pieces accompanied by a screen of films playing behind them.  The core of the group is two members who are primarily on vibrophones and two members who are primarily on drums, however, each play a number of other perucussive instruments including glockenspiel, slide whistle, harmonica, and long pipes (both struck and stroked!)  They were joined by a guest guitarist for the entire set, so, in effect they weren't only a percussion ensemble for this performance. They left and Matmos took the stage for a couple songs before So Percussion rejoined them for some tunes.

The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast is the new album.  It has been completed and delivered to Matador and should be out in the springtime (hopefully May).  It's an album with the theme of portraits: each song represents a different individual, with sound sources and styles that represent the person or give the strongest impression to Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt.  The first song of the performance, the portrait of Valerie Solanis, author of the Scum Manifesto, featured spoken word from local Bostonian, Robin Belair.  On the screen were images of roses and flesh and organs that looked like they were breathing.  Like Matmos can get, it was vile but beautiful and didn't allow for the attention to wander one bit.  Other highlights of the night were song portraits of William S. Burroughs, Ludwig Wittgenstein—with the album title repeated, accompanied by So Percussion playing their instruments with bunches of roses (petals collecting everywhere!), and a slamming tune for their portait of Larry Levan, the gay bath house DJ and disco god. 

The night was intense, the music was stunning, and you'll be able to make up your own mind when you see Matmos in their own words and catch some exclusive glimpses and sneak previews of the forthcoming album in a few days once The Eye feature is edited and completed.  Stay tuned.

Image by Bill T. Miller

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2006 16:36  


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