Producer released numerous albums of material and experimented with installations, sculptures and scores for Shakespeare plays
Mira Calix, the electronic producer celebrated for her complex, highly imaginative music and sound art, has died aged 52.
Her label, Warp Records, announced the news, and did not give a cause of death. A statement posted to social media said in part: “Mira was not only a hugely talented artist and composer, she was also a beautiful, caring human who touched the lives of everyone who had the honour of working with her … she pushed the boundaries between electronic music, classical music and art in a truly unique way.”
Born Chantal Passamonte in South Africa in 1969, Calix moved to London in 1991 to pursue a career in music, first working as a publicist for Warp alongside promoting club nights and DJing, before releasing her music with the label.
As with her labelmates, her work realised the broad possibilities of electronic production in playful and adventurous music that had roots in club culture but spanned a remarkably broad stylistic range, touching on ambient, noise, neo-classical and more.
She released music in the traditional album format, beginning in 2000 with One on One and most recently with the sample-heavy Absent Origin, released in 2021 and hailed as one of her greatest works. But she also made music for installations such as My Secret Heart, staged at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 2008, and the monolithic sound sculpture Nothing Is Set In Stone, created for the Cultural Olympiad alongside the London 2012 Olympics, with Boris Johnson, then London mayor, stating: “Mira Calix has managed to wrest not blood, but music from a stone, putting the music into rock and creating a new cultural attraction.” Other public artworks appeared everywhere from a public bus in Nanjing, China, to the Tower of London.
She also collaborated with opera and theatre companies, including Opera North and the Royal Shakespeare Company, writing scores for productions of Julius Caesar and Coriolanus for the latter. Her 2003 work Nunu featured the sound of live insects on stage, while Inside There Falls, a 2015 collaboration with Sydney Dance Company, used hidden speakers worn by dancers in a mobile, four-dimensional piece.
She once said of her boldly experimental yet populist approach, in response to elderly listeners who loved one of her installations: “The whole piece was completely abstract, but it made them feel something. They didn’t say, ‘This is too weird’ … People like fantasy. We know this. But people also like fairytales. And they like abstractions. Art isn’t just for arseholes. People can handle it.”
BBC 6 Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs was among those paying tribute to Calix, calling her “such an ingenious, pioneering artist … always questioning, always pushing.” The musician Gazelle Twin said: “So so gut-wrenching to hear this news of such an amazing, inspirational and unanimously loved creator.”
This article was amended on 12 April 2022 to correct the year Mira Calix was born, because after publication Warp Records said this to be 1969, not 1970 as previously confirmed. This means Calix was 52 when she died, not 51.



comments 2022


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