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Micachu

Micachu
Mica Levi by Leah Walker.png
Micachu; photo by Leah Walker
Background information
Birth name Mica Levi
Born February 1987 (age 30)
Surrey, England,
United Kingdom
Genres Experimental pop, avant-pop, lo-fi, indie, noise pop, grindie, film score
Instruments Vocals, guitar, electronics, found objects
Years active 2006-present
Labels Rough Trade, Milan, Accidental
Associated acts Brother May, Dean Blunt, DELS, Ghostpoet, Kit Downes, Kwes, Matthew Herbert, London Contemporary Orchestra, Oliver Coates, Tirzah
Website micachu.biz
Good Sad Happy Bad
Also known as Micachu & The Shapes (2008-present)
Years active 2008-present
Labels Rough Trade
Members Mica Levi
Raisa Khan
Marc Pell

Mica Levi (/ˈmkə ˈlvi/; born February 1987), known by her stage name Micachu, is an English singer, songwriter, composer, and producer.[1] She is classically trained and since 2008 has released experimental pop music with her band Good Sad Happy Bad (formerly known as Micachu and The Shapes). In 2014, Levi branched out into film composing, creating the score for the Jonathan Glazer film Under the Skin. Her work was widely praised[2][3][4] and Levi received a European Film Award for Best Composer and a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music nomination. Her score for Pablo Larraín's Jackie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.[5]

Early life

Levi was born and raised in Surrey, England.[6] The daughter of two musicians, she started writing and playing music at the age of four. She is of Jewish descent.[7]

Music

Levi performed as a DJ in London, and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on her official Myspace page.[8] For Filthy Friends she enlisted the help of friends and musicians of various backgrounds including MCs Baker Trouble, Brother May, Man Like Me & Ghostpoet,[9] singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, jazz band Troyka, London pop-band Golden Silvers as well as producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.

While a student at Guildhall, Levi was commissioned to write an orchestral piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was performed at the Royal Festival Hall in April 2008.[10]

Performing in New York City, October 2008

Levi was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.[11]

Levi co-wrote and produced Tirzah's I'm Not Dancing EP, which was released by Greco-Roman Records in August 2013, to critical acclaim.[12]

Good Sad Happy Bad

Levi formed a band called Micachu and The Shapes, which included Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. They signed to Accidental Records. With the Shapes, Levi's focus has been on experimental pop music. Most of this music prominently features an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes her output with The Shapes as pop music.

Their debut album, Jewellery, produced with influential electronic musician Matthew Herbert, was recorded around Mica's composition studies at Guildhall School. Advance copies of the record reached the press in early 2009, and generated positive feedback. In the wake of this growing buzz, Micachu and the Shapes were signed to Rough Trade,[13] who released Jewellery on 9 March 2009. Drowned In Sound consequently hailed the record as "thrillingly improbable pop made by a grade-A maverick."[14]

In 2009, the band received a grant from the PRS for Music Foundation.[15]

Micachu and the Shapes toured widely throughout the UK in 2008, including performances at Bestival and V Festival. The band played in the US at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and SXSW in Austin, Texas. They also performed on the Main Stage of the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island in Brooklyn in July 2009. Touring continued throughout Europe and North America in the summer and fall of 2009.[16] In Spring of 2010, Micachu and the Shapes supported Spoon on tour throughout North America.

The band performed with the London Sinfonietta at Kings Place, London in May 2010 and in March 2011 released the live recording as the album "Chopped and Screwed".[17] Unlike their previous effort, the recording largely avoids pop sensibilities in favor of a slower, hip-hop indebted style and repetitive, discordant string arrangements. The band were chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011 in Minehead, England.[18]

The follow-up to their debut, Never, was released on 23 July 2012.

The band released the album Good Sad Happy Bad on 11 September 2015.[19][20] In March 2016, the band announced on social media that they were changing their name to Good Sad Happy Bad.[21][22]

Film scores

Levi's first major film score was for Jonathan Glazer's 2014 film Under the Skin.[23] The film is based on the novel of the same name by Michel Faber and stars Scarlett Johansson. Produced at age 26 and created in collaboration with Glazer, Levi's film score themes are so tightly woven into the film[24] that they give a symbiotic quality, in which the aural feels inseparable from the visual.[25] The score was widely acclaimed for pushing the boundaries of music and sound design and Levi was nominated for multiple awards. She won Best Composer at the 2014 European Film Awards,[26] and tied with Jonny Greenwood for Best Music/Score at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards.[27] She was also nominated for the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.[28]

In 2016, Levi completed her second major film score, for Pablo Larrain's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biopic Jackie.[29] Larrain had been a juror at the 2013 Venice Film Festival, and thought that Under the Skin deserved a film score prize. Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, also on the jury, was enthralled by Levi’s bold score for the film, and he and Larrain spoke passionately of her accomplishment,[25] which led to the collaboration on Jackie. Levi was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2017 Academy Awards, making her the fifth woman nominated in the category,[30] but lost to Justin Hurwitz for La La Land.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album details Peak positions
UK
2009 Jewellery (with The Shapes) 196
2012 Never (with The Shapes)[31]
  • Release date: 23 July 2012
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
-
2014 Under The Skin (OST)[32]
  • Release date: 17 March 2014
  • Label: Milan Records and Rough Trade Records
-
2015 Good Sad Happy Bad (with The Shapes)
  • Release date: 11 September 2015
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
-
2016 Remain Calm (with Oliver Coates)
  • Release date: 25 November 2016
  • Label: Slip Records
-
2016 Jackie (OST)
  • Release date: 16 December 2016
  • Label: Milan
-

Live albums

Year Album details Peak positions
UK
2011 Chopped and Screwed (with The Shapes and the London Sinfonietta)
  • Release date: 23 March 2011 (Australia), 28 March 2011 (U.K./Rest of world)
  • Label: Remote Control and Rough Trade Records
--

Mixtapes

Year Mixtape details
2009 Filthy Friends
  • Released: 9 February 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, Digital download
2010 Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 with Kwes.
  • Released: 5 June 2009
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2011 Meat Batch with Kwake Bass
  • Released: 22 March 2011
  • Label: For BTS Radio
  • Formats: Digital download
Chopped & Screwed Mixtape with Brother May
  • Released: 2011
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Digital download
2012 Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.2 with Kwes.
  • Released: 30 April 2012
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download
2014 Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill
  • Released: 27 November 2014
  • Label: Self-released (Demdike Stare Self-Released)
  • Formats: Cassette Tape, Digital download

Singles / EPs

Awards and recognition

European Film Awards, Best Composer for soundtrack to Under The Skin[33] (2014)

BAFTA nomination for soundtrack to Under The Skin[34] (2014)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award, Best Music Score for soundtrack to Under The Skin. Tied with Jonny Greenwood.[35] (2014)

Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for Jackie (2016)

Nominated - Academy Award for Best Original Score for Jackie (2016)

References

  1. ^ "Micachu | Biography, Albums, & Streaming Radio | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  2. ^ Mica Levi: Under the Skin OST Album Review. Pitchfork (2014-04-17). Retrieved on 2017-02-25.
  3. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R.. (2014-12-29) Mica Levi, 'Under the Skin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' | 20 Best Avant Albums of 2014. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2017-02-25.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Oscars 2017: Mica Levi's Jackie Nominated for Best Original Score | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Ben (2015-08-02). "Micachu and the Shapes review – renaissance woman goes back to basics". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  7. ^ [leorgalil.com]
  8. ^ "Micachu teams up with Brother May for 'May And Meeks' EP". DIY. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  9. ^ "Rapper Ghostpoet talks about his struggle for success". 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  10. ^ Burrows, Tim. Micachu and the Shapes: The Shape of Things To Come, "The Telegraph, 4 March 2009"
  11. ^ "Resident Orchestras & Artists in Residence". Southbank Centre. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  12. ^ "Tirzah: "I'm Not Dancing" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  13. ^ Records, Rough Trade. "Rough Trade Records". Rough Trade Records. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  14. ^ Ubaghs, Charles (2009-03-17). "Album Review: Micachu - Jewellery / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  15. ^ Hogan, Marc. "What's the Matter with Sweden?" in Pitchfork.com 29 March 2010
  16. ^ "Micachu | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  17. ^ "Micachu and the Shapes and London Sinfonietta present: CHOPPED & SCREWED", Rough Trade Records.
  18. ^ "ATP curated by Animal Collective - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  19. ^ "Good Sad Happy Bad critics reviews". Mertacritic.com. September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Pop and Jazz Listings and Albums for the Fall Season". New York Times, SEPT. 7, 2015
  21. ^ good sad happy bad (Video). March 23, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017. we just wanted to tell you that rather than being a recording "good sad happy bad" is the new name of our band. 
  22. ^ Micachu on Facebook (March 23, 2016). "Micachu shared a Page". Facebook. Retrieved April 1, 2017. Our band name is now GOOD SAD HAPPY BAD and we did this because we feel our last record was more than just a recording. 
  23. ^ Levi, Mica (2014-03-15). "How Mica Levi got Under The Skin of her first film soundtrack". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  24. ^ "Mica Levi: Under the Skin OST Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  25. ^ a b Tapley, Kristopher (2016-10-19). "'Arrival,' 'Jackie' Composers Push Boundaries of Music and Sound Design". Variety. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  26. ^ NME.COM. "Mica Levi on scoring 'Under the Skin': 'I dreamt the world came out of Scarlett Johansson's face' | NME.COM". NME.COM. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  27. ^ "LAFCA". LAFCA. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  28. ^ "Mica Levi earns BAFTA nomination for Under The Skin score". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  29. ^ "Mica Levi scores Jackie Kennedy biopic starring Natalie Portman". August 16, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  30. ^ Beauman, Ned (February 23, 2017). "Mica Levi's Intensely Unconventional Film Scores". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  31. ^ "News | DOWNLOAD: Kwesachu Vol. 2". The Quietus. 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  32. ^ Jayson Greene (2014-04-17). "Mica Levi: Under the Skin OST Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-01-10. 
  33. ^ "European Film Academy : THE 27TH EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS: WINNERS". Europeanfilmacademy.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  34. ^ "Original Music Nominees in 2015". Bafta.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  35. ^ "L.A. Film Critics Awards: Jonny Greenwood & Mica Levi Tie in Best Music Score Category". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 

External links