Mira Calix, iconoclastic composer and artist, died at the age of 52

Mira Calix, a composer, producer and visual artist whose work included electronic music, orchestral commissions, public art installations, theater scores, music videos and DJ sets, died March 25 at her home in Bedford, England, and at a music and art studio. He was 52 years old.

The cause of death was confirmed by his partner Andy Holden, who declined to give a reason.

“He has pushed the boundaries between electronic music, classical music and art in a truly unique way,” his label, Warp Records, said in a statement.

Mrs. Calyx’s projects included solo albums, collaborations and numerous singles, EPs, productions and remixes; Music for the staging of Royal Shakespeare Theater’s 2017 “Julius Caesar” and “Coriolanas” and a 2003 episode, “Nunu” featuring the London Symphonyeta, Calyx’s Electronics and Live Cicadas and Cricket Cage, have been released on video.

He welcomed the commission to make public industry.

In 2012, he told music and cultural website The Quetas, “I like to try to change someone’s day.” “I like that people bring something without expectation. It doesn’t matter who made it. They didn’t go and buy a ticket, so it’s not about being respectful. People can just walk around.”

Among his free installations was “Nothing Is Set in Stone”, an egg-shaped stone monolith in London that uses sensors to respond to the audience’s motion with music. Another was a “passage”, a permanent installation in a train tunnel in Bath that was converted into a bicycle and pedestrian path with interactive lights and noise. In Sydney, Australia, “Inside Their Falls” was a hangar-shaped paper sculpture environment with music and dancers. And “Moving Museum 35” was a traveling sound installation on a bus in Nanjing, China.

Mrs. Callix told students at Nanjing University of the Arts who were working with her: “We are not trying to make things easier for our audience. We are trying to make things come true. “

Although her pieces often employed classical musicians and singers, Mrs. Calix was not a traditionally school-going musician. He became a musician by working with computers and samples. His music often draws on minimalism and repetition of dance music, field recordings of rural and urban sounds, in trained and untrained voices and layered snippets and pieces.

“I wanted to air electronic music,” he told Interview Magazine in 2015. “I record the sounds of stalks, bark and rocks. I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of ​​combining natural and man-made. The juxtaposition is really beautiful. The question of which is natural and which is unnatural is very open.”

Although his music is often described as experimental and avant-garde, he insisted that it speaks to the general audience. In a 2012 video interview, he said: “People like weird things. People like abstractions. People love magic and those are the things that inspire me to work.”

Mira Calix (pronounced Mi-ra K-Lex) was born on October 28, 1969 in Durban, South Africa to Chantal Francesca Pasamonte Gabriel and Ricarda Pasmonte. He studied photography but was an avid music fan and became estranged from South Africa due to anti-apartheid sanctions, moving to London in 1991 to interact directly with the music scene. He got a job at a record store, Ambient Soho; He booked clubs and parties with events with a group called Telepathic Fish; And he started working as a disc jockey.

In 1993, after working with indie-rock label 4AD, Mrs. Calyx became the promoter of Independent Warp Records, which specializes in electronic music. In the meantime, he started building his own electronic music with an early Mac computer and a sample.

“The only thing that really affected me was the lack of money,” he told Computer Music Magazine in 2012. It’s funny, isn’t it? Lack of money limited the music I could do, but that meant I discovered my own words. “

Mrs. Calyx married Sean Booth, a fellow musician, in the late 1990’s, and they separated in the mid-2000’s. In addition to Mr. Holden, he is survived by his mother and his sister, Genevieve Pasmonte.

Executives at Warp Records listened to his music and signed him to the label in 1996. He told the Red Bull Music Academy in 2003 that he had chosen to record “Mira Calix” after a “sort of appearance”.

“I wrote it, and it looked good,” he added, “and I really like the phonology. It sounded really nice, and it sounds like a pretty person.”

His first release was the A-side, 10-inch vinyl single “Elanga,” “Hamba”; It ended with the repetition of a looped voice, “People say you can’t do it.”

His recordings for Warp were adventurous and unexpected. These can be noisy induced or meditative and surrounded, scattered or densely populated, rough or colorful. He also traveled as a disc jockey with teams including Radiohead, Attacker and Godspeed You Black Emperor!

But his interests turned to multimedia work and site-specific installations, often in collaboration with scientists and visual artists. “I like to create a place where music exists, and then you get into it,” he told the Spitfire audio website.

Speakers at the “Chorus” at Durham Cathedral in the north of England in 2009 rocked overhead pendulums, using more than 2,000 word samples to interact with light and movement using customized software. Her 2013 work, “The Sun Is the Queen of Torch,” was developed in collaboration with a lab that has developed organic photovoltaics – light-sensitive, power-generating – materials. In 2018, “Ode to the Future” was created based on the ultrasound image of pregnant volunteers.

Her final album, Missing Source, was released in 2021. It was a complex collage of his past and his ambitions. He draws from many years of material stored on his hard drive: beats (including using his body for percussion), nature recordings, previous sessions with classical musicians, favorite songs and poems, and preserved news footage, including CNN’s January coverage. 6 Rebellion.

All of these have become elements for the length of the song, sometimes the danceable tracks contain messages of feminism and resistance: exploratory, humorous and unexpected.

“My job challenge is to engage my audience emotionally, and music is a form of abstract art,” Ms. Calix said in a 2013 TED talk. “I can’t tell you how my audience feels. I need to reassure them and guide them and hopefully draw them to me. “

Contributed by Alex Trab Reporting.

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