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Live Review: TROPHIE reshapes all genres on her debut EP 'Death To Pop'

2 May 2018 | 11:14 am | Holly O'Neill

Stretching genre conventions with glee TROPHIE comes into her own in 'Death To Pop' as she takes on pop, witch house, dubstep and trap with a unique twist

Genres can be so limiting when it comes to the modern music landscape, and no one knows that better than TROPHIE. Following her debut single 'Death To Pop', she's just dropped an EP of the same name with SIDECHAINS. Fresh to the scene, the dark producer with a cheeky edge is quickly making a name for herself mixing her classical music training with club sounds. Across the six tracks (plus a remix from label mate EVAR), she explores the influence of pop on club music and stretches genre conventions as far as she can with glee.

Influences of acts like SOPHIE, CRYSTAL CASTLES and DEATH GRIPS are all over this EP. The interplay of choppy spoken word vocals and stabs of distorted synths in 'Grim Trigger' inspires images of flashing strobes and stuttering crowds. Raw emotion and glitchy production featuring a string section in 'Walking On Air' invokes a nostalgia for some of the deeper cuts of the witch house era. All delivered with a wink, a nod and signature TROPHIE style.

Her unique sound is dark and gritty, paying homage to the sounds of club, trap and dubstep. Applied to a pop context however her production plus intoxicating vocal tone (complete with British twang) is hypnotic. 'I Like Being Bad' is one of the most straight pop tunes on the release, but still has that harsh edge mixed with cheesy appreciation for the genre.

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The most insane demonstration of what TROPHIE can do it is on the track 'Victorious'. Her commanding vocal leads the charge ahead of frantic stabs of her own voice and dense drums. She revs the tempo all the way up to 180 bpm, a juggernaut of energy that can only be stopped with the complete opposite, an atmospheric string section.

On the other side of the coin is 'Natasya Filipovna', a stripped back exploration of her more classical tendencies. Piano chords and a lonely violin join dense bass and double time percussion, but TROPHIE's stunning voice is the stand out of this one. She even soars into operatic vocalisations towards the close, a nice little easter egg across a few of the tracks and an uncommon but welcome presence in a club tune.

The title track of the EP is as much a celebration of pop as it is a condemnation, as TROPHIE repurposes the tropes of the genre and makes them her own. Across the six tracks she's managed to warp a number of genres to her will, taking most from oft neglected genre witch house, and crafted a completely modern take on all of them. By marrying her diverse influences, refined musicianship and gritty production, Death to Pop is a stunning debut EP and bold showcase of everything the producer/vocalist can do.

Death To Pop is out now via Sidechains, grab it here.

Photo by Tom Truong

Words by Holly O'Neill