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Sophie, Grammy-Nominated Avant-Pop Musician, Dies at 34

Sophie Xeon, the Grammy-nominated producer-musician whose pioneering work mixed candy pop melodies with mechanical noises right into a style now often known as hyper-pop, died in a climbing accident in Greece on Saturday. She was 34.

“True to her spirituality she had climbed as much as watch the complete moon and by accident slipped and fell,” a press release from her label asserting her demise reads. “She is going to at all times be right here with us.”

Equally impressed by pop music and the crushing industrial sounds of acts like Autechre, from the discharge of her first single, “Nothing Extra to Say,” in 2013, Sophie’s affect was rapidly evident all through the extra adventurous realms of the pop world. Inside two years she was working with Madonna on her meme-spawning tune, “Bitch, I’m Madonna.”

Of her 2018 debut album, “Oil of Each Pearl’s Un-Insides,” Selection wrote, “Sophie combines candy pop melodies and sounds with completely hideous noise — grinding, clanking, blaring, burbling, blurting, disagreeable and jarring sounds, wildly autotuned voices — to create a type of pop music that, if not solely new, might by no means earlier than have been offered in such excessive style.”

British singer-songwriter Charli XCX, who had been pursuing a profitable however extra standard pop profession, abruptly modified course with the discharge of her Sophie-produced 2016 EP, “Vroom Vroom.” Charli, who with collaborator A.G. Prepare dinner was awarded Selection’s Hitmakers Innovator award in December, mentioned she had lengthy been searching for a extra aggressive pop sound in her music. “It was solely after I met Sophie after which A.G. that I lastly discovered what I used to be looking for,” she mentioned. “We simply instantly spoke the identical language — we didn’t even have to speak.”

That sound has unfold quickly lately by way of acts like 100 Gecs and artists on Prepare dinner’s PC Music label, and Sophie’s affect can he heard in nearly each artist on Spotify’s Hyperpop playlist.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland as Samuel Lengthy in September 1986, she attended native raves as a child, started DJ-ing and producing as an adolescent, and by 2013 started dropping aggro-electronic singles corresponding to “Nothing Extra to Say,” “Bipp/Elle,” and, one yr later, the weirdly frenetic dance flooring basic “Lemonade/Arduous.” By 2015, she was working with Madonna, Charli XCX and, later, Los Angeles rapper Vince Staples on his audience-polarizing 2017 album “Huge Fish Concept.” Whereas she was initially reclusive and carried out live shows shrouded by dim lighting or from a D.J. sales space, she in the end got here out as transgender.

Sophie then centered on her personal work, releasing the eerily elegant “Oil of Each Pearl’s Un-Insides” in 2018, which earned her a 2019 Finest Dance/Digital Album Grammy Award nomination. Her most up-to-date work was collaborations and remixes with like-minded artists corresponding to Arca, Cashmere Cat, Brooke Sweet and Shygirl.

Tributes poured out early Saturday because the information unfold of Sophie’s demise. Phrases of British vocalist Sam Smith, wrote on Twitter: “Heartbreaking information. The world has misplaced an angel. A real visionary and icon of our technology.”

 

Legendary producer and Stylish cofounder Nile Rodgers wrote, “#RestInPower SOPHIE! You have been one of the progressive, dynamic, and heat individuals I had the pleasure of working with at 2019 ⁦@southbankcentre.”

 

Producer-musician Jack Antonoff, who has labored extensively with Taylor Swift, Lorde, the Chicks and others, wrote on Twitter, “To me the genius of Sophie was how she took this idea of larger brighter more durable shinier, a software that so many have used cynically, and made it good & difficult.”

 

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