Last year, Mica Levi recorded an hour of drone and experimental beats for Demdike Stare's DDS label. This year, she collaborated on two tracks with the Shangaan electro pioneer Nozinja, the instrumental grime artist Mumdance and the vocalist Tirzah, with whom she has written three infectious house records for Greco-Roman. For the 2013 film Under The Skin, which was directed by Jonathan Glazer and starred Scarlett Johansson, Levi composed the soundtrack, an unnerving affair that was written mainly on a viola. She was recommended for the job following Chopped And Screwed, a collaboration with the London Sinfonietta that was inspired by the style of Southern hip-hop of the same name. The Shapes—drummer Marc Pell and keyboardist Raisa Khan—were also involved in the project, as they were with Jewellery, Levi's 2009 debut album, which was produced by Matthew Herbert. A third Micachu & The Shapes album, Good Sad Happy Bad, is released this week through Rough Trade, and it continues in the same rich vein of experimental pop as the last two.
We've been talking in list-form here to illustrate just how varied and accomplished a figure Levi is in UK music. She's an artist embraced by both the mainstream media and underground music circles.
When Levi, Pell and Khan arrived at our London offices last month, they decided on the spot what they'd perform. They settled on a version of "Unity," a track from the new album, and "Looking Up At The Sun," which they described as "new live material."
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