Listen Up

Saying farewell to SOPHIE and Double K, a collaboration between Icelandic artists and more moving music

SOPHIE: BIPP (Autechre Remix)

The world recently lost the treasured, trailblazing artist SOPHIE (aka Sophie Xeon) who passed away aged 34. Back in 2013, the Scotland-born musician’s banger “BIPP” emerged, rejecting trends within electronic music of the time in favor of kick-drums, high-res squeaky sounds (made on an Elektron Monomachine and Ableton Live) and pitched-up vocals, all the while leaving plenty of blank space. Beyond her solo work, SOPHIE was behind Madonna and Nicki Minaj’s rambunctious “Bitch I’m Madonna,” Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar’s industrial-inflected “Yeah Right,” as well as a bunch of songs with Charli XCX. While much of her magic existed in collaboration, SOPHIE stated back in 2015 that she never wanted any remixes made of her songs, “unless it’s Autechre.” Just days before her death, Autechre (aka English electronic music duo, Rob Brown and Sean Booth) released their remix of BIPP along with a note: “Sorry this is so late.” The pitch-shifted version utilizes a looser, more laidback drum loop, but it still soars—repeating SOPHIE’s promise, “I can make you feel better.”

People Under The Stairs: Montego Slay

Double K (aka Michael Turner) from seminal LA hip-hop duo People Under The Stairs passed away this week, at 43 years old. Double K and Thes One (aka Christopher Portugal) founded the group in 1997 while they were both attending high school and became admired worldwide for their laidback style, eclectic and obscure samples, back-and-forth rhyme dynamic and DIY approach—undertaking almost all sampling, DJing, MCing and producing themselves. The band’s third album, 2002’s O.S.T. includes an especially large number of expertly used samples. From that record, “Montego Slay” incorporates 20 snippets from Jamaican souvenir records spliced together. Weaving jazz, funk and psychedelic elements throughout their tunes, the duo’s legacy is a plethora of effortlessly hypnotic music.

Teen Dreams: Imaginary Love

Teen Dreams—a collaborative act composed of Icelandic recording artists Sin Fang, Sóley and Örvar Smárason (of múm and FM Belfast)—return with “Imaginary Love,” an endearing, atmospheric dream-pop track. Each musician’s contribution adds layers to the warm melody. It’s the first of 12 singles to be released from them this year; one per month in 2021.

Allmos feat. Paul Grant + CARRTOONS: Amelie Emily Enni

Spellbinding and mellow, “Amelie Emily Enni” is the newest release from Allmos, the solo moniker of Allan Cole (aka half of the production duo The Stuyvesants), featuring Paul Grant on electric guitar and CARRTOONS on bass. From the Mostly Remixes EP (set for release later this month), the gorgeously produced instrumental feels simultaneously fluid and languid, while remaining super-tight.

Julien Baker: Favor

The third release from Julien Baker’s forthcoming album Little Oblivions (out 26 February), “Favor” finds the emotionally articulate singer-songwriter reuniting with her boygenius collaborators, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers. The track’s textures—and the swell of backing vocals—align with the “stark but sensitive picture of friendship” Baker recounts within. It’s expectedly beautiful, but imbued with something even more powerful.

Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel. Hero image courtesy of SOPHIE / AUTECHRE