REVIEW: MATMOS – mac, 15.5.11

Cluttered with wires and gadgets, the mac’s more ‘relaxed’ seated theatre had no time to prepare for the hysterical onset of spine-shivering lunacy. Making most people question their own sanity, John Wiese’s chaotic, industrial intensities examined the characteristics of a video nasty soundtrack, delving deeper into the grime of extreme distress.

Sounds of attacking paranoia flung past those who had succumbed to the noise torture, while rumbles and tremors exposed harsh, hell-beckoning depths into a glint of Nurse With Wound’s experimentalism.

Dragged along in agonising vocal delusions, the agitating nightmare just needed visuals to enhance the experience into piercing surrealism.
Though the psychological inducements were not to end here, as Matmos began to set out their own pathway into the bizarre.


The science-influenced duo, plus guest guitarist J Lesser, fuelled the audience into a cult-like state, with a selection of seemingly-hypnotised members of the public, chanting gibberish into their blanked out glasses and headphones.

Think Derren Brown entering the world of Pagan rituals and you’re not even halfway there, as the unnerving encounter grew harsher, subconsciously adapting and embodying its victims.

The mesmerising harmonic samples and resonating triangles gave way to hospital imagery and creepy human reflections, spreading a Throbbing Gristle-inspired outlook into the dark ambience of surgical and mental experimentation.

It seems that the Baltimore-based couple knew exactly how to play with people’s imaginations, as the much lighter-hearted Rainbow Flag brought back a Zen-like state to the mac.


Crafting psychedelic spirals against electronic swirls, the uplifted mood expelled out from Matmos’s animated facial expressions and bird whistles, allowing a whimsical side to appear from the mentally challenging avant-gardists.

While the exotic funk beats gave a post-IDM feel to J Lesser’s astounding guitar solos, warping together a fusion of electro-rock into a foot-tapping frenzy.

Forwarding what Pierre Schaeffer had once begun, Matmos innovatively break through the musique concrete barrier, with the use of bottled water, scraping singing bowls and ‘anything goes’ percussion, the duo portray abnormality in it’s greatest form of entertainment, both extremely uncomfortable and highly eccentric, the unpredictability provides that thrill ride to anybody who is keen to be pushed to their limit.

Photos: Kate Fitzgeorge
Words: Ross Cotton

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