Rachel's & Matmos

Recalling the recording "Full On Night," I was expecting an evening of collaborative work between both groups, as there were two performances scheduled tonight at the Brattle Theater. The Brattle is not a typical rock venue, it's a movie theater which specializes in cult, foreign and art films. For the last few years, the Rachel's have been packing the audiences into the Brattle as they play their own special blend of instrumental serenity as performed by acoustic and classical instruments. Tonight was completely unexpected. Matmos opened with their own set. The night begun with a simple explanation from Matmos member Martin Schmidt, who shared with the audience his own interpretation of electronic music performance and how the duo decided to play with their backs to the audience, with their computer screens facing the crowd. For approximately a half hour, it seems as if they allowed us into their livingroom studio, entertaining us as they played their own quirky electronic music style, coupled with non-electronic elements like blowing into a water bowl and accented by accompanying video sequences. At one point, the two whipped out a hamster cage and played a pretty melody by plucking various bars on the cage before playing it with a violin bow. Captivating, fascinating and intelligent. Wow! While I've always been a fan of Matmos' music, I can safely say after seeing them live that I finally 'get it.' Next up was the Rachel's, whose style and grace is untouchable. It's like watching what the classical musicians in an orchestra do when they decide they want to rock out. The violist always looks out of place however standing out in the middle of nowhere while everybody else sits distant from him. The Rachel's music is almost too soothing however and I often find myself getting way too comfortable during their set. Electronic wizards stepped in shortly and the madness begun again, this time with feeling! The dimensions of dementia were otherworldly, while Drew from Matmos played his head and a neck brace, Martin's fingers triggered various sonic noises, on the other side of the stage, drummer, guitarist and cellist seemed to try to steer the musical element more on course. Once the group's matriarch, Rachel sounded in on the piano, everybody seemingly backed off, the song begun and the noises painted the background other than the foreground, carrying the audience into a happy bliss of electrics and acoustics. Matmos exited stage left while Rachel's finished the show. The audience was ushered out and I jumped back in line to get back in to see the second performance!