Artist of the Week: Micachu & The Shapes

Micachu, or Micachu and the Shapes are one of the more exciting groups coming out of the UK at the moment. Additionally, Mica Levi is bringing much-needed musicality and pop sensibilities to what is sometimes referred to as freak-folk. Well, please allow this writer to avoid any further attempt at labeling her most recent music. Not only is the term “genre” dead, but the smooth yet glitchy rhythms Levi so delightfully and even sometimes abrasively churns out could only be limited by categorization. Right, so let’s continue.

It’s shocking that the new album, Jewellery, could come from only a twenty-one year old mind, though youthful innocence and carelessness is certainly one of the most important parts of Micachu and the Shapes. That aspect allows the music to shift between many styles, tempos and instruments (washboards, beds being jumped on) while  staying true to the acoustic approachability of Levi’s small guitar and simple chords. Even beyond the music, creativity and a lack of ego have allowed this young brit to gracefully maneuver through an incredibly eclectic career.

Before joining Marc Pell (Drums) and Raisa Khan (Keyboards) to form Micachu and the Shapes, Mica Levi lived and achieved more like that of a thirty year-old. Not only did she study composition at The Purcell School (the oldest specialty music school in the United Kingdom) but also composition and drama at The Guildhall School of Music (widely noted as one of the best schools in the world in each subject) from which she received a scholarship. Such accomplishments may sound a bit less surprising after hearing that she has been playing the violin since she was four years-old. But truly nothing can be taken away from such a talented artist who is willing to embrace any sound she may deem worthy. For example, Levi even found time in her twnty-one years to compose a piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and (in hear early…early days?) create an hour long grime piece titled Filthy Friends.

But if one is only as good as their showing, then Jewellery has allowed Micachu to show that she is the same reckless prodigy she’s always been. It would be a crime for Breakthru Radio to pass up the opportunity to profile such an obvious rising star. This collection of music is through and through one of the more unique, experimental and still fun and appealing albums today. It is without genre, a sui generous sound even in the midst of thousands of freaks bent on the same goal, simply something new and different. Have a listen.

4/21/09 8:00pm @ Les Femmes s’en melent Festival – Paris, France
4/22/09 8:00pm @ Les Femmes s’en melent Festival – Nancy, France
4/28/09 8:00pm @ The ICA – London, UK
4/30/09 8:00pm @ Hinterland Festival – Glasgow, Scotland
5/2/09 8:00pm   @ London Calling @ Paradiso – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5/9/09 8:00pm   @ Dissonanze festival – Rome, Rome
5/14/09 8:00pm @ The Great Escape – Brighton, UK
5/22/09 8:00pm @ Stag & Dagger festival – Leeds, UK
5/23/09 8:00pm @ Nuits Sonores Festival – Lyon, France


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