Photo by Taio Konishi


Mutating latex pop gets the crowd moving

Most pop music understands people want to hear the hook — the big, gooey center of a song meant to be hollered along to and soundtrack bright summers. English producer SOPHIE gets this, he just won’t let it come forth so easily. His late-night performance at the Red Marquee found him laying down a set of constantly mutating pop, to the point it could seem more like science experiment than floor filler. SOPHIE started off with an aggro assortment of synth and bass, but this harshness would suddenly give way to a twinkling Euro-dance-flavored melody…only to recede back into the harsher churn. It was random pop gratification randomly shared, but vanishing just as fast into stranger sounds bringing to mind what metallic bubbles might sound like popping.

But the moments where everything clicked together made the scatterbrained approach worth it. SOPHIE has been accused of being a big ol’ irony boy, poking fun at pop music with his creations, and his Fuji Rock set had moments that smelled like stabs at subversion, all visual (the screen behind him flashing various chemical names, a photo of a piglet for a song called “Lemonade”). These were groan-worthy distractions, but the music, even at its wonkiest, never felt like a gag (helping this was a decent-sized crowd who might not know anything about SOPHIE, who were rolling along to it however strange it got). SOPHIE’s tempo-fuckery on “Hard,” extended into a slow burning wonder at Fuji Rock, was cathartic release pitched up, while the aforementioned “Lemonade’s” moment of radio-worthy release made the ASMR liquid sounds before it sparkle all the more. And the voice of British pop star Charli XCX popped up numerous times too, on bangers that imagined what a latex cyberpunk dystopia might sound like through a radio station. There were a lot of moments spent wondering “what is coming from this,” but it was just those big moments that really last the day after.

Text by Patrick St. Michel Posted on 2016.7.23 01:41