A restlessly eclectic approach is always a good sign in an artist, and few young musicians have worked in so many genres as Micachu.

She’s only 21, but the East Londoner has already produced grime tracks, performed in hip-hop outfits, released cutting-edge electronica and pop, and studies classical composition at London’s Guildhall. “When I grow up, I want to be a composer. That’s the long term plan,” she says. The short term plan, however, is to release an album with Matthew Herbert.

After picking up a demo of one of Mica’s hip-hop collectives, Herbert signed her to his Accidental label. The pair are now producing “six or seven” songs for Micachu to vocal on her forthcoming album. True to form, though, the other half of the album will be something else entirely, being written and played with her live band The Shapes. Micachu and Herbert’s approaches to writing proved similar; like him, she enjoys taking samples from everyday sources; frying pans, hoovers, broken plastic. “I love taking about twelve different samples and then just shoving them on top of each other”, she says, “May be it can sound quite unclear, but I like it when things sound a bit messy. Mistakes make music interesting.”

To tide you over until the album arrives, Mica’s released her mixtape, Filthy Friends, as afree download on her MySpace. It’s a collection of production-sketches from the past few years with new vocals by MCs Baker Trouble and Mayhem. Although the mixtape showcases a harder, grimier side to her sound than the forthcoming album – “which will be much more poppy and soulful” – it has a hazy, broken-down feel; a common thread running throughout her work. Glottal-stopped MCing dissolves into splintered electronics and rough thickets of samples. Much like early grime, Mica’s music sounds both avant-garde and antique.

“With a lot of experimental electronic music, there’s intellectual machismo, with boys trying to do the cleverest, clickiest beat”, she says, “But that’s putting barriers up to people enjoying the music; I want to write pop songs”.

Simon Hampson



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