Thrill-seeking conceptualists and Björk collaborators Matmos in conversation with radical American composer Alvin Curran.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, experimental music composer Alvin Curran is best known for his work as part of Musica Elettronica Viva, a live improvisational group which was formed in Rome in 1966 and shook up the music composition world with their radical take on sound – experimenting with synthesisers, using non-musical objects as instruments and mining the various talents of its rotating cast to challenge notions of form and performance. Outside the group, Curran’s collaborative work has seen him compose for radio, dance and theatre, as well as large-scale chamber and orchestral groups, choirs and sound installations. Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt are Matmos, a duo who formed in San Francisco in the mid-’90s and quickly cultivated a heady sound all of their own. Merging IDM, skittering electronica and off-kilter pop, their surgical-operation-sampling album A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure, garnered them praise for their slavish attention to detail and playful concepts. As well as continuing to release albums for labels such as Matador and Thrill Jockey, Matmos have worked closely with Icelandic genius Björk on two of her own albums and subsequent world tours – much like Alvin Curran, then, finding an affinity with musicians who like to stretch the boundaries of genre and expectation.