Published May 18, 2019The French duo of Émilie Siaut (aka Madame Patate) and Christophe Petchanatz (Klimperei) are a bit of an anomaly in the predominantly object/toy-based field of musical play. Spying tables laden with everything from dollar store wind chimes to stuffed emus, the audience can usually expect a cacophonous improvised set, but this group was really about the mostly short and often sweet song.
Petchanatz´s group-slash-alias Klimperei has a more than 30-year history, the last third of which he has shared almost exclusively with Siaut. Their process involved either the construction or pre-recorded play of a melodic or rhythmic loop, quickly locked in place, then embellished with a very wide array of musical instruments and noise makers.
Petchanatz spent a large amount of the concert with a guitar slung around his shoulder, while Siaut´s reach was wider ranging, grasping at toy xylophones and ratchet sets with equal musical glee. Both obviously share a love for the melodica, which returned often during the show.
Despite their status as veteran players, their songs were not delivered either slickly or precisely. Their seat-of-the-pants approach suggested a kind of French Beat Happening raised on Gainsbourg/Bardot records and yard sales. The DIY of it all was mostly charming, but did produce some undesired clunks here and there. Overall it was refreshing to witness a brand of in the moment creativity more concerned with joy than exhaustively studied technique.