Friday, June 28, 2019

Back To The Future: Memphis Concrète Connects With The Avant World

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 3:39 PM

click to enlarge Matmos - THEO ANTHONY
  • Theo Anthony
  • Matmos
When I moved to Memphis from New York in the late ’80s, I experienced many musical epiphanies daily. Yet I always yearned a bit for the downtown no-wave scene that the Big Apple offered. Nowadays, though, it's a different story altogether, and this weekend's events are causing me to pinch myself. Can I combine the joys of Memphis life with all the edginess of loft life in Williamsburg? Are my musical colleagues truly mixing and mingling the local avant garde with the wider world of envelope-pushers out there? Have I died and gone to heaven?

One answer in the affirmative is the Memphis Concrète festival going down all weekend at Crosstown Arts. Masterminded by synthesist Robert Traxler and launched in 2017 by a small tribe his fellow electronic devotees, the festival has gone from success to success ever since. One sure sign of this was when I happened upon my neighbor, who exclaimed, "Are you going to Memphis Concrète? Matmos is coming!"

Indeed, Matmos is a much respected group in the electronic world, and their presence at the festival is indicative of its rapidly growing international reach. For the past quarter century, Matmos has developed a unique sound that blends the experimental with the danceable. Well known for conceptual albums based around single-themed sample sources (e.g. household objects, surgery sounds, a washing machine), their latest album Plastic Anniversary is built on sounds that, in one way or another, originate from plastic.

Other highlights of Memphis Concrète include Moor Mother, aka Camae Ayewa, who has worked with the venerable Art Ensemble of Chicago, Rapoon from the United Kingdom, who mix music concrète and drone, the very industrial Pas Musique, and Tavishi, who explores immigrant and queer identities through sound.

Naturally, plenty of local experimentalists will be featured as well, including Optic Sink, Jack Alberson, Linda Heck, and Ihcilon. Some of the artists will also gather at a pre-festival show on Friday, June 28th at the Lamplighter Lounge. (See below for the full Memphis Concrète lineup).

Saturday 6/29:
10:05-11:05 pm: Matmos
8:45-9:45 pm: Rapoon
7:55-8:25 pm: Mykel Boyd
7:10-7:40 pm: Optic Sink
6:25-6:55 pm: Max Eilbacher
5:45-6:15 pm: MPX
3:55-5:45 pm: Tron movie w/ live score by Argiflex + Careful Handling
3:30-3:55 pm: Noiserpuss + Belly Full of Stars
3:00-3:25 pm: Mike Honeycutt + bihl

Sunday 6/30:
9:05-10:05 pm: Moor Mother
8:00-8:45 pm: Pas Musique + Shaun Sandor
7:00-7:45 pm: Tavishi
6:20-6:50 pm: Outside Source
5:40-6:10 pm: Artificer
5:00-5:30 pm: Paul Vinsonhaler
4:20-4:50 pm: Jack Alberson
3:40-4:10 pm: Linda Heck + Pas Moi
3:00-3:30 pm: Ihcilon + Jack the Giant Killer

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