Mica Levi / Micachu is a truly busy and multifaceted artist: as well as her work with The Shapes and her orchestral compositions, she takes on new projects like a duck takes to water. This duo record with cellist Oliver Coates was born out of improvisations which were then taken away and re-processed into beautiful and weird new shapes. Remain Calm is released by Slip.
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Miniatures, then: if they should be do anything they should beguile. And possibly lead you down the garden path. Which is the main strategy Mica Levi and Oliver Coates take here. Having met and jammed live on Levi’s NTS show.
They lead with the simple thing of beauty ‘Pre-Barok’, Coates’ cello soaring like Vaughn Williams’ ascending lark then hanging in the air above Levi’s spacey post-grime electronics. ‘Bless Our Toes’ blends looped cello motifs with chopped-and-screwed sonics and underwater bass thump. ‘Dolphins Climb Onto Shore…’ layers ambience -- of the kind Levi used to such fascinatingly unsettling effect on her soundtrack to the Glazer film Under The Skin -- over Coates’ improvisation for yet another dazzling miniature piece.
There are plucked strings and skittering beats (‘Schoolhouse’), dark and claustrophobic psychological video game textures (‘Dragon In The Mist’). And that’s all in the first few tracks. ‘Barok Main’ gives Coates free rein to plumb the murky depths provided by Levi. His bow progresses like a confident deep sea diver, eyes half closed. ‘New Wren Kitch’ is playful and arresting -- which is kinda how I might sum up this stunning album. Excellent.
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- Remain Calm by Mica Levi & Oliver Coates
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