Pretentious Vanity Act or Provocative Vocal Annihilation?

Experimental group Mopcut blur lines between music and sound. Dan reviews for SCENE.

(Image: Nikolaus Ostermann)

What’s the opposite of singing? You may immediately think shouting. Or, is it a case of simply sucking and gutturally gasping for air?

Ask Audrey Chen, lead vocalist of band Mopcut, and you’ll probably be told it’s the latter.

How about playing guitar? What’s the opposite of strumming chords and plucking meandering melodic and oh-so-impressive solos? Maybe it involves smashing the thing, heavy-metal style?

Or, maybe it involves plucking and scratching the strings so hard they melt any boundary between you and your instrument, making the origin point of the music unidentifiable?

What’s the opposite of drumming? The opposite of rhythm? Is it simply a case of giving a two year old (or a gorilla) a set of drumsticks and closing the door?

Or, does it involve carefully carving a cymbal with a drumstick so it screeches like a knife, every thud resisting repetition or relief, building towards something before finally titillating to a whispering brush?

Again, direct your questions to the other two band members Julien Desprez and Lukas König on that one.

When I went to hear them, courtesy of York Concerts in the Rymer Auditorium, after a long day of looking through 19th Century newspapers and staring at screens, I can’t for certain say it helped me to unwind.

However, after a prolonged moment of silence, from the second they appeared on stage I was challenged, enjoyably.

Their sound? A tightrope walk teetering on the edges of ear-piercing headache and mind-bending climax.

This review was made possible thanks to York Concerts.

Based at the University of York, YorkConcerts comprises around forty concerts each year and features international artists alongside the University’s outstanding student ensembles.

Performances are held in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and Central Hall at the University, as well as at various venues across the city centre, including York Minster, the National Centre for Early Music and York Guildhall.

Autumn/Winter 2023 highlights include the Jess Gillam Ensemble, the Shepherd Group Brass Band and Cory Band and Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening. Explore what’s on: