Here are some of the instruments they have cooked up to make the sounds you hear. The "pepper trumpet" is my favorite.
Here is a Q/A the group posted on their site:
when was the orchestra founded?
the orchestra was founded in February 1998.
who is the boss, the leader, speaker etc. of the orchestra?
there is none. we are a group of self-organized women and men working collaboratively on this project.
who had the idea?
we don't remember. it is not the idea that matters it is the realization. the idea was born and carried out by a group of people, who came from different musical backgrounds (improvisation, electronics, pop, rock, punk, contemporary,......) and have worked together before in various projects.
are you all vegetarians or vegans?
no we are not. don't ask again. we've heard this question 3 million times.
are you serious about your music?
yes we are. this is not a just-for-fun project.
As an encore at the end of the concerts, the audience is offered fresh vegetable soup. Awesome. Actually wait. Did they wash those veggies? Not sure sure about eating a carrot after it's been manhandled for 60 minutes for the show.
Anyways, I first came across this band via the Remix project of their album with artists like Ricardo Villalobos and Martini Bros handling some remix duties, giving the gurkophon and lauchgeige some dance floor friendly oomph.
Here are some videos of their live performances which begin 5 hours before the actual show as they head to the produce market to find their instruments. The performance starts at minute 1:36. Around minute 4:20 that shit gets ca-razy (as crazy as you can get with a bunch of produce in your hands). Another better quality video is available at The Guardian.
Using organic instruments is not new (well they formed in 1998). Matmos used samples of medical procedures in their 2001 album A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure and other items like a cow intestine and cigarette burns in 2006's The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast.
This quote from The Strait Times, Singapore, June 10, 2006 (we're global and shit... watch out...) seems to sum up the live experience well, "playing with food never had such interesting results. (...) the concert was truly a sensory experience towards the end when the sharp scent of celery and onion filled the venue and juices from bruised vegetables stained the performers' attire.
but this orchestra revelled in sound and as one left the concert more attuned to the aural rhythms of everyday life, it seems their devotion had paid off."
Even further giving them credibility, their track Radioaktivitat was written by their (sauer)kraut rock neighbors to the North(ish), Kraftwerk.
MP3: Greenhouse (ysi)
(I swear I hear the "Pump Up the Jam" synths in that remix...)
Where my vegetarians/vegans aaattt? (some of the Pumpkin Jam remix lyrics)
cucumbersAnd since I talked up Matmos a bit, and since disco is ALLLLL the rage nowadays... until James Murphy says it's not... here is a song Matmos did in honor of NYC underground disco pioneer Larry Levan.
here i come
no meat is need
pure veggies to complete it
MP3: Steam And Sequins For Larry Levan (ysi)