Berlin-based producer Tami Tamaki has dropped a new track and video, called ‘Despicable’ on January 27.
The song comes accompanied by a liner note on the Swedish artist’s YouTube account announcing “I made a pop song about a disgusting ex and I made a video where I’m making out with myself mmmm”. It features an EDM-style thrust with typically candid lyrics delivered in Tamaki’s signature autotune comparing said ex to a tumour and other similarly unfavourable adjectives over superclub sounding samples and a poppy chime beat.
The ‘Despicable’ video presents a diorama of tinsel and flower beds, and a sponge-y heart balloon being squeezed out of shape in a kaleidscope view of several Tamaki heads mirroring, and sometimes making out with themselves.
The NYC-based performances of the night include Penis’ Sophia Cleary and Samara Davis’ collaborative feminist punk band “sharing the code of transformation, remaking value systems, and vulnerability”, alongside Neal Medlyn‘s Champagne Jerry hip-hop project and its aim to “continuously create and provide the most significant moments in everyone’s lives”.
Meanwhile, the event introduces Berlin-based Swedish electronic producer and vocalist Tamaki, whose filtered vocals and candid lyrics recently debuted in London as part of a performance for Leo Liccini’s Ariel 2.0 series with Felicita.
Leo Liccini’s impressive Ariel 2.0 series has showcased a number of international musicians, producers and artists whose performative voices are being shaped by computers and online life, bringing the likes of Karen Gwyer, Cakes da Killa, and Hanne Lippard to the Bold Tendencies auditorium space of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, South East London. The programme’s final outing features Felicita, whose hi-tech noise music has been performed at club nights and art galleries alike, and Tami Tamaki, a Berlin-based singer and producer who writes dance pop songs with a candid take on sexuality at the forefront.
Although originally hailing from Sweden, Tami Tamaki has made a small impact in Berlin’s underground electronic scene and found fans online thanks to the inclusion of their song ‘I Never Loved This Hard This Fast Before’ in the soundtrack to Ester Martin Bergsmark’s 2014 queer romance Something Must Break. Tamaki’s set (a first for a UK audience) flitted between bright, colourful pop songs, sad-eyed robo-ballads, and big drop bangers. Lyrically the sorts of clichés you hear in top 40 radio pop are taken (“I never loved this hard this fast before / But then again I never loved a boy like you before”) and then flipped with a frank and often funny depiction of sex and sexuality (“You make my heart beat, steady as a clock / Your words touches deep, and so does your cock”). Tamaki adjusts and queers a vocal delivery through heavy processing, but the music is still rooted in conventional melodic pop song-craft and it’s precisely because it’s more visceral than intellectual that it works so well. Two songs into the set, Tamaki suggests that they’re not used to playing to a seated audience, and when the crowd gets up, they stay up.
Having attended South London artist Felicita’s WISH event at London’s ICA theatre earlier this year, I was on familiar ground with what to expect, even if his music is formally less straightforward than Tami Tamaki’s. Felicita presents his show like a typical live act: the artist is on-stage, they play their instrument (in this case, a laptop), and the audience faces them. But throughout the set, Felicita subtly circumvents established gig rituals and takes things closer to performance art, especially as he controls his production software through his smartphone. At times, the only light in the room comes from the glowing Apple logo on the back of his computer, and it’s impossible to know what’s going on behind that screen: Felicita could be in the middle of an elaborate Ableton live session, or he could just be hitting the space bar on iTunes.
One thing that is recognisably ‘live’ is the contribution of vocalist Chlo, who opens the set by directing an inane stream of consciousness into the microphone. Slowly, this spoken word is drowned out by Felicita’s bright, colourful take on noise music, clearing the way for a din of chattering voices, glitches, and loud digital synth blasts (with hints of garish pop songs surfacing occasionally above the clamour). Chlo’s contribution starts as something non-musical, but she returns at the end of the set and blasts out a song a capella that proves there is a formal talent that is previously, deliberately left unheard. At the end of the performance, the music cuts out and the crowd stands in silence, uncertain whether to clap, wait for the music to kick back in, or leave. **
Following an impressive programme curated by Leo Liccini and including the likes of Cakes da Killa, Hanne Lippard and Nkisi, London-based artist Felicita’s paradoxical music production of a sort of violent tenderness meets Tamaki’s gender ambiguous approach to vocal effects and lyrical content. This will be the Swedish producer’s debut UK performance of a sound that is both sexually explicit and emotionally charged.
Along with the live programme Metahaven‘s mega installation Possession, curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini will be on show in the same car park space throughout September.