Micachu & The Shapes and London Sinfionetta - Chopped & Screwed
There’s a history of bands employing orchestras to embellish their sound and provide something new for their fans; usually it results in overblown pomposity that you probably wish you hadn’t heard. Here though the London Sinfionetta invited pop-experimentalists Micachu & The Shapes to craft some entirely new pieces of music and what resulted is an at times unsettling, but exciting, experience. Supposedly inspired by the “cutting and screwing” technique of early nineties American hip-hop, the direction of Mica Levi has turned the talented orchestra into a live action sampler of sorts. Strings scrape, loop and morph into all manner of forms while Mica and friends play homemade instruments. The loose and sparse nature of the songs, in particular something like ‘Unlucky' with its simple percussion, low-end cello and bubbling vocals, gives enough room for moods to build and instruments to breathe. The buzzing pace and frenetic violin of ‘Everything’ is a particular highlight and the album as a whole really shows how orchestral collaborations can be done right. Returning to a regular band set-up after this may be a little difficult considering the possibilities on offer here.