Electronic duo Matmos perform excerpts from composer Robert Ashley’s TV opera, Perfect Lives, a story of bank robbery, cocktail lounges and geriatric love in the American Midwest.
Mixing classical composition with early electronic manipulation, Robert Ashley repackaged the opera format for a contemporary American audience. Synths, vocal effects and processed piano meet with quick and layered visual edits and an almost spoken-word delivery. Here, Matmos filter Perfect Lives through a modern electronic set up, with a small ensemble of musicians and video by M C Schmidt and Max Eilbacher – a performance that shows Ashley’s work is still as engaging and quirky now as when it was first written.
‘Nothing less than the first American opera, written within an American language utilizing various American attention spans: snippets for the channel switchers, layers of meaning for the smart-alecks, something for everyone, and accessible. Works such as this put to rest any doubts if opera can or should survive, and how’ Fanfare
'No one else makes music anything like this, and I doubt anyone else knows how, or would have the wit to pull it off if they did' Dalston Sound on Matmos