| biography |
MY CAT IS AN ALIEN (MCIAA) is the world-renowned outsider duo of radical, experimental instantaneous composers and intermedia artists formed by brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio in early 1998. They started their activity in Torino, Italy, before moving in a remote, secret region of the Western Alps.
MCIAA is a single intermedia entity that acts through music, shamanic live audiovisual performance, painting and drawing, art design, photography, “cinematic poetry” films & videos, installation, writing and poetry, phonographic editions and artists’ books.
MCIAA have been developing a distinctive form of experimental music that is worldwide recognized as highly innovative. A performance by MY CAT IS AN ALIEN is full of tension and unpredictability, making it a proper shamanic ritual. Their huge output represents some of the most emotive and soulful improvised experimentalism in avant-garde.
Articles, interviews and extended reviews are featured on the most important international music magazines worldwide.
Multi-instrumentalists, since the beginning they privileged the use of electric guitars, percussion, various toy instruments including Roberto Opalio's well known "space toys" filtered throught his guitar. In 2012 they re-shaped their sound with self-made string instruments and modified electronic devices, as always accompanied by Roberto Opalio’s distinctive wordless vocalizations.
Most of MCIAA's live performances become even more unique events thanks to instant Polaroids shot on stage by Roberto Opalio, photos often turned into proper art installations and album covers.
The visual aspect in MCIAA's music aesthetics is of primary importance; all cover artworks are curated by Roberto Opalio himself, whose distinctive artistic stamp gives a strong style to all their works: he created MCIAA’s distinctive “Alien Cat” logo, as well as the “Alien” iconic figure.
The duo’s international debut album ‘Landscapes Of An Electric City’, dedicated to their hometown Torino and its decadent industrial scenario of abandoned factories from early 1900s, was published by Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) on his own Ecstatic Peace! label.
MCIAA have set up collaborations with vanguard artists like Sonic Youth, Christian Marclay, Thurston Moore, Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, Lee Ranaldo, Michael Morley (Dead C), Loren Connors, Nels Cline, Text of Light, Steve Roden, Mats Gustafsson, Jean-Marc Monteraamong many others.
MCIAA have released over 200 records through some of the most prestigious international labels of experimental music, such as Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! (USA), Atavistic (USA), Important (USA), Les Disques VICTO (CAN), Very Friendly/ Cargo Records (UK), P.S.F. (Japan), Staalplaat/ Mort Aux Vaches (NL), Eclipse Records (USA), Starlight Furniture Co./ Revolver (USA), Last Visible Dog (USA), A Silent Place (I), Time-Lag Records (USA), Ikuisuus (FIN), Discrepant (UK), PseudoArcana (NZ), Elliptical Noise (CAN) among many others.
Since the beginning the duo also dedicated itself to several private press releases, ultra-limited art editions and art objects on their own Opax Records imprint.
MCIAA’s live debut happened when Sonic Youth invited them to open their European tour in 1998. Since then the Opalios toured several times with Sonic Youth.
Both brothers also make several private audiovisual solo performances in secret non-art locations of the Western Alps.
Roberto Opalio’s works of visual art, design and poetry have been commissioned by international magazines such as Studio Voice multi-media magazine, Tokyo (Japan); Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal, NYC (USA), The Sound Projector (UK), Sensational Fix Zine (NL).
Roberto Opalio's 'Frammenti Cosmici' first solo exhibition took place at Zuni gallery space in Ferrara, Italy, October 19th to November 11th, 2007.
In February 2009, Roberto Opalio's cinematic poetry dual film 'Light_Earth_Blue_Silver' (2005-2008), with soundtrack by My Cat Is An Alien, has been published in DVD+CD format by Atavistic Worldwide (USA). The film, often accompanied by MCIAA’s live alternate soundtrack, was presented at Netwerk Center for Contemporary Art in Aalst (Belgium), Octubre CCC - Centre de Cultura Contemporània in Valencia (Spain), Netmage.10 International Live-Media Festival at Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna (Italy), Over the Real Festival Internazionale Videoarte in Viareggio at GAMC Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Viareggio (Italy) among other international art spaces and multimedia festivals.
Tokyo’s Studio Voicemagazine and book publications awarded MCIAA 'Different Shades Of Blue' album of 2005 in the Top 40 chart "THE BEST OF AMBIENT WORKS 1969-2009". Besides extended articles and interviews, Studio Voice also commissioned Roberto Opalio to create an exclusive full-page colour illustration.
John Szwed, awarded writer, Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, mentioned the album ‘For Alan Lomax’ in his acclaimed book "Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded The World" (Viking Press, New York, 2010).
Besides the official exhibition catalog published by Walter Koenig (awarded in 2008 by L'Arbre à Lettres, Paris), curator Roland Groenenboom presented a compendium “zine” at Malmo Konsthall, featuring exclusive artworks by Roberto Opalio and MCIAA.
Roberto Opalio and MCIAA’s works have been exhibited alongside famous artists such as Christian Marclay, Mike Kelley, Gerhard Richter, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham, Matt Groening, Cameron Jamie, Dara Birnbaum, George Maciunas, Paul McCarthy, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Gus Van Sant, Vito Acconci, John Cage, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Pettybon, Robert Smithson, Christopher Wool, Jonas Mekas, to name a few. .
MCIAA contributed soundtrack to the movie "Lowlife" by Seth Smith, Winner at Atlantic Film Festival 2012 (DVD published by Brinkvision in 2014). Another soundtrack contribution is made for Jack James' movie "Malady", 2015.
From 2011, Elliptical Noise Records (Canada) started publishing a series of CD box of long out-of-print material alongside some of the duo’s most adventurous new works. Among these, ‘What Space is Made For’ 3CD Box (2011), ‘Music For Phantoms’ 3CD Box (2012), including the massive 'ALIENOLOGY: Selected Works 1998-2008' (2011), a ten disc box retrospective of MCIAA's first decade of activity.
The double LP ‘Art Is A Tear Of Noise And Infinite Silence’ (Discrepant, 2012) features the duo first recordings with their new self-made string and electronic instrumentation.
The 6 CD box 'PSYCHO-SYSTEM' (Elliptical Noise, 2013) represented the most radical expression of their current creative method of composition through the brothers' brand new self-made strings and electronic instrumentation. An explicit warning reads that "prolonged exposure to sounds and high volume listening can cause episodes of psychotic break with reality, hallucinations, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, catatonia."
In 2014 MCIAA spent a residency in Brussels to collaborate with Belgian electronic composer Cédric Stevens, where for the first time the brothers played real-time loops of an old upright piano. The full recording session was released as a triple album ‘Abstract Expressionism For The Ears’, thanks to the support of La Communauté Française De Belgique.
At the end of 2015 MCIAA and Divinités Irritées private press have started a series of artist’ intermedia books, accompanied by music instantaneously composed and mixed with the actual sound of the books in the process of creation.
In 2017 MCIAA are invited to open Xavier Veilhan's Studio Venezia project (co-curated by Christian Marclay and Lionel Bovier) for the French Pavilion at 57th Venice Art Biennale.