Itís pop music, but not as we know it. Tonight, it looks like something wild and unhinged. Many-stranded, incantatory and utterly danceable: a line-up of the best and weirdest explorations in popís progressive, tumultuous, bright future.
New pop music draws increasingly from experimental fringes and combines weird and awkward sounds while keeping catchy melody and song structure. Some of the best examples of these weird new tendencies are coming from the US - Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance and even Battles - but Europe has its own batch of groups exploring similar a galaxy of repetitive, simple elements, metronomic drums and synth, blissful keyboard and distorted banshee oddness. Tonightís line up of Britainís fresh crop, Fuck Buttons
, Micachu and the Shapes
, Tim Exile
, Jon Hopkins
and Norwegian electro pop ambassador Kim HiorthÝy
, deliver in their diversity a unified chaos.
A sweet melancholy and sadness permeates the evening through the breathy vocals and disharmonies of Micachu, the Fuck Buttonís snatches of song drifting in from afar, reminiscent of crackling radio reports. Through Tim Exile's melodramatic power pop and the exquisite, dreamy melodies and starry-eyed explorations of Jon Hopkinsí glittering landscapes. But sad doesnít mean sentimental. This music is also loud and driving, spiked with noise and beats. Fuck Buttons delve into the psychedelic with long chords drifting across a pounding motor that reach psychotic crescendos. Tim Exileís on-the-fly performance conjures wonky loops and vocals and dense beats. The repetitive loops and off-kilter noise of Kim HiorthÝy highlights another element of the new pop: as does the low-fi of Micachu and the Shapes as they blend electronic, hip-hop, folk, grime and R&B using only a half size guitar, drums and a keyboard. That is an enthusiasm for guilelessness and unpolished playfulness.
This ecstatic zeal means thereís nothing gloomy about this music, despite the noise and wistful melodies. Itís a universe of glorious disorder: awkward, textured sincerity and a giddy joy in the expressiveness of pop. Quirky, but uplifting. And a fascinating glimpse of future promise.
Programmed in collaboration with Little Big