Monthly Archives: April 2003

People Like Us, Matmos and Wobbly – Wide Open Spaces

The hour long performance on this disc was captured live on October 5th 2002 when Wobbly, People Like Us and Matmos circled their wagons in the lecture hall of the San Francisco Art Institute. Having mutually agreed upon a country and western theme, Vicki Bennett (PLU), Jon Leidecker (Wobbly), and Drew Daniel and M. C. Schmidt (Matmos) pored over their archives of honky tonk classics, chopping and dicing Nashville’s finest almost beyond recognition, and collectively restitching the mangled shreds in a kind of crazed digital quilting bee. Several tense rehearsals and strong pots of tea later, the foursome shuffled on stage and delivered the goods: from panoramic twangfests to offkilter waltzes to barn burning stompers. Flickering and tranquil one moment, and wildly slapstick the next, Wide Open Spaces hits the sweet spot between song forms and improvisation, and showcases the qualities that all three collaborating artists share: absurdist humor, baroque sample manipulation, and stuttering rhythmic frameworks that lurch and sway. While the presence of five samplers, four laptops, three CD players and a pedal steel guitar on one stage could have led to a tediously ego-driven “jam” or simply cacophany, the results feel lushly detailed but not cluttered, and swing naturally between structure and freedom. It’s an international media magpie summit where country’s chick-a-boom meets tech house’s boom-tschak, and tearjerking sentiment and patriotic hokum are subjected to a dense shower of coughs, sputters and rude noises. Listening back to the recorded results, all three musical units agreed that this concert was mighty fine, and worth sharing.

01. Morning
02. Dolly Pardon
03. Clawing Your Eyes Out Down To Your Throat
04. Shenandoah
05. Holler
06. Tremble Valley Peady
07. Chicken Legs
08. Cattle Call
09. Unshackled
10. Arkansas Explorer
11. Calling
12. I Must Die
13. Wide Open Spaces

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