Tom Randall

Micachu And The Shapes and The London Sinfonietta – Chopped And Screwed (Rough Trade)

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The record closes with ‘Fall’ and ‘Not So Sure’, each mysterious and ambiguous, spectral and cryptic, but with obvious motifs and resolution (of sorts). It’s a strange place to return to after the denouement of the infectious melody on ‘Low Dogg’ (nevertheless rendered in the destroyed language of the rogue and wastrel common to the other tracks). The vaguely-Tin Pan Alley bridge in ‘Not So Sure’ suggests, perhaps, a conclusion, as the taste of stately regret seeps into the music, much as it did with ‘Medicine Drank’.

Musical pitch is simply rhythm sped-up to such a degree that it is decoded by the ear into a note. You can feel the ‘beat’ in a note by plucking a string and singing in unison and then deliberately raising or lowering the pitch of your voice by a hair. My Bloody Valentine have dined out on their fetish for the oscillation potential of every note for the celebrated part of their career. Mica has voiced the parts to her songs such that the Sinfonietta’s strings and reeds bristle and vibrate against one another, much as if the notes were slowed right down.

This album makes me want to sell my guitars. Only a mind liberated from the technique required to play an instrument like it’s meant to be played could have thought this up. Every timbre is deployed in a considered manner, and yet nothing seems over-thought. Tension pervades but so does lightness and three-dimensionality – probably due to Mica’s precocious understanding of restraint and not letting ideas outstay their welcome (see: Jewellery).

I felt the need to put in for this record, conceived and executed by someone whose talent seems so deep but effortless as to be terrifying. Ah, there’s that queasy sense of unease again.

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