Mira Calix's 'utopia' affirms her status as a genuine maestro of contemporary music

The South African expat has flipped the book on traditional instrumentation.

British experimental/acid jazz artist Chantal Passamonte – who records under the moniker Mira Calix – has hit it out of the park with her new EP utopia.

The South African expat started her career as what can be best described as an avant-garde vocal artist but has developed into a genuine maestro of contemporary music.

Opening song ‘rightclick’ is driven by a slowly plucked bass that is ridden by fragmented vocals and various organic and inorganic samples. It melodically marches on gathering then shedding various layers until the listener is left with the bass line it began with.

‘Just go along’ follows a similar framework to ‘rightclick’: while it still features a barrage of random samples and Passamonte’s spoken vocals fragmented, it’s spine is a rhythm created by organic instrumentation. The vocal aspect is a conversation between a female and male that sees the exchange, “Do you want me or do you just go along with things?” and then “I want you” delivered as single words then fill sentences and everything in between.

Despite dealing mostly dulcet tones and muffled beats, utopia is not background music.