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MIRA CALIX rightclick gets 8.5/10


Mira Calix
rightclick
Warp

8.5/10

After 10 years, Mira Calix (aka the UK’s Chantal Passamonte) returned to Warp Records for a short EP this January entitled Utopia. It’s not as if Calix has been idle, it’s just her work of late is more likely to be seen in galleries and performances at art festivals (e.g. her mixed media installation Inside There Falls for Sydney Festival in 2015). Yet her work still concerns moving sounds and bodies through space, and rightclick is consistent with this ethos.

The first single from the EP, rightclick is simple and immediately engaging. A skeletal, closely-mic’d and dead-sounding bass sets the pace and mood – a steady but lurching rhythmic bass line that is plonked with intensity throughout the track.

A melodic, yet sinister, piano line reminiscent of 36 Chambers-era Wu Tang provides another sound layer, establishing a sense of foreboding more than pleasantness as the track shuffles uneasily along. The percussion is minimal, giving contrast to the few elements involved. In the background are snippets of conversation, heavily treated and chopped-up, matching the halting and repeating motif of the piano, bass and drums. The tension ramps up during the middle third, with high-pitched keyboard stabs that accompany a highly processed vocal line with a choral effect. A return to the main theme takes the short three-minute track out.

The key to this slow and steady number is the way the multiple layers interlock then disengage throughout, all the while maintaining their individuality. The track is impressive in that it seems to float through air, all the while showing you the strings from above and the puppet sticks from below, like a large paper dragon twitching and weaving at a Chinese New Year’s festival.

The accompanying video is directed by Adam Thirlwell and features dancer Lily McMenamy, and gives the music a visual and physical representation as with Calix’s recent work for theatre and dance, and takes “dancing in your lounge room” to another level. But rightclick is a clever track for Mira Calix’s music production skills to shine through again, nudging her back to the dance floor, one mouse click at a time.

PAUL DOUGHTY

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