Micachu / Mica Levi isn’t satisfied with her recent highly-acclaimed film soundtracks and London Sinfonietta premieres: she keeps busy. Here we have a reissue of an excellent tape from last year, which sonically maps the three atmospheres alluded to with the title: feeling romantic feeling tropical feeling ill. Now on double LP.
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Those familiar with Micachu through her work with the Shapes will be expecting overblown pop arranged and presented only in the most ridiculous ways; the hooks should spew and the melodies will walk backwards into a tunnel of gleeful noise, and whatever else happens will amount to a jubilant clusterfuck. What her double LP ‘feeling romantic feeling tropical feeling ill’ actually does, though, is quite different: this isn’t a record of unbridled and smashed-to-the-ground joy, but rather Micachu taking on a darker, more wretched landscape.
What comes to mind on ‘feeling romantic’ is Micachu gone Godspeed, taking the fragmented musical parchment of ‘F♯ A♯ ∞’ as an influence for flash-in-the-pan compositions that are light but thrillingly morose. Collating noisy percussion and wandering stretched out melodies, the record sounds like it’s waking up queasy and confused, before eventually rerouting into ‘feeling tropical’, which toys with loud blasts of synth and squealing contact noise. Like the Avalanches with a hundred ideas and limited time, Micachu reverts to synthetic naturalistic sounds with a tune that opens up the record into a brighter, happier space.
The versatility of this record speaks to how many different aspects of pop Micachu sees, and as ‘feeling tropical’ opens up, so do the warped melodies, field recordings of chirping birds and tinny drum machines. There’s potentiality in everything, and as the record deviates into its final chapter, ‘feeling ill’, she piles on the wooziness: beats that keep going just ‘cause, melodies that feel extracted of all joy, a general atmosphere of twee hell. It’s a strangely wonderful place to be.
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