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May 23, 2011 | by  | in Music |
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Spotlight on Porcelaintoy

In March this year Porcelaintoy launched their second album, Contrite Elegant Rebel, in four sold-out shows at BATS Theatre. But this was no ordinary album launch. Complete with dancing troop, operatic choir and string orchestra, this was a celebration of the seamless interaction between music and art. Which all sounds a bit avant-garde if you ask me. Thus let me proffer the term ‘innovative’ to describe this local two-piece.

The recently married couple, Elizabeth and Emile de la Rey, describe their music as “indie, downbeat, and glitch,” although I am not sure that their sound ticks the boxes of any conventional music genres. This is, in large part, due to their unique song-writing process. Elizabeth is responsible for the majority of the composition and provides a backbone of emotive vocals, guitar, mandolin and piano, which Emile then electronically manipulates and arranges. Like their live showcase, Porcelaintoy’s music effectively challenges the supposed disparity of classical and electronic musical elements.

The resulting sound is highly evocative, and slightly haunting. With tinkering piano and rich vocals layered beneath glitchy electronic overlays, the music exudes a sense of decadence and bohemian glamour. Elizabeth’s porcelain-soft, yet commanding vocals are cleverly manipulated by Emile to create hypnotic harmonies and the entire album has a very close-to-the-microphone, personal conversation with the listener type feel.

Evoking similarities to the unnerving ambient tones of CocoRosie, Porcelaintoy’s music will never be heard on ZM or blasting from the dance floor of the Big K. That is not to say it is depressing or too alternative for the average listener. It is an engaging synthesis of different art forms and musical genres that represents hugely positive developments in the future of New Zealand music, and well worth a listen.

Check them out online at http://www.porcelaintoy.com/, and you can purchase their album from http://shop.porcelaintoy.com/

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