Just a month after the release of her effortless debut album Devotion, Tirzah plays to an eager crew at Room 2, Corsica Studios.
Sharing the bill with DJs Ize and El-B, at a club known for its heavier electronic music, was arguably going to be a risk for Tirzah, but her intimate vocals captivated the small crowd right the way through an hour-long set.
Dressed in a black fleece and hardly visible in the barely-lit space, the Essex-born artist performed tracks Do You Know, Basic Need andHolding On, as well as title track from the earlier Make It Up EP – a single with strong R&B and garage influences. It’s a stand out, infectious hit among her newer, minimalist collection. The evening crowd-pleaser was Devotion, a collaboration with NTS regular Coby Sey. Tirzah cooly and delicately sings lyrics ‘I need all your attention, sometimes I think that’s all I need’ while Coby steps out of the darkness, repeating ‘So listen to me’ over and over, like a subdued lullaby.
Alongside Coby, no Tirzah show is complete without long-time friend and Devotion producer Micah Levi (aka Michachu) by her side. While Tirzah is brilliantly subtle and shy – often whispering into the mic, Micah takes charge by pushing sound boundaries throughout the set – mixing, dancing and experimenting. It’s no surprise to learn that the classically trained singer, songwriter and composer has not only released experimental pop with her band Micachu and the Shapes but written and won awards for major film scores.
The show was one of several, brilliantly-crafted Ø parties from independent London label Hyperdub. A nod to the underground scene both in the UK and beyond, the monthly events are organised by head of label, and king of electronic music, Kode9. September also saw a live art installation Strange Fruit from composer and artist Venus Ex Machina. In October, the stage will open to Laurel Halo, Scraaatch and Hyph11E b2b with Scintii.
In Hebrew Tirzah means ‘she is my delight’ and a delight Tirzah is. Her music is unpredictable, exposing and curious and her live performance is no exception. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch her down at Corsica, head to east-London favourite Village Underground on 19 November for arguably one of the most captivating shows you’ll see all year.