What's on the menu Friday night is a first set, titled Marconi Calling, followed by a second set dubbed In the Afternoon Restless (the latter is taken from a line in Jack Kerouac's novel Big Sur).

The audience will be seated, but Celona and company hope people relax and have fun. Getting up to buy a beer mid-song is A-OK. The Krells insist this is not an evening of cerebral, academic art music. "It doesn't have to be sitting in your chair and scratching your chin," Godlovitch said. Added Celona: "We do some very hard-driving, pulsing pieces within this."

Here's how the aliens fit into the picture. When he was a kid, Celona was blown away by the 1956 sci-fi film Forbidden Planet. In particular, he loved the crazy soundtrack by electronic-music pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron. In Forbidden Planet, "the Krell" is an extinct race that was so advanced, they built a machine that could transform fantasies into real life. It was his idea to give the Krells their name.

The Krells play music that combines improvisation with structured elements. McNally says Celona's contributions sometimes have a cinematic feel (Celona is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker). In performance, McNally will make real-time loops and samples of what his band-mates are laying down —
a technique common in dance clubs. The music's esthetic is closer to jazz than classical or serious new music. And, like jazzmen, the Krells are after those elusive but rewarding moments when everything falls together, as though prompted by some unseen hand.

Or even an extinct race of aliens.