Remembering Mira Calix

The groundbreaking multidisciplinary artist was a true Warp Records original

Mira Calix (Image: Warp Records)

It’s not uncommon for publicists to dabble in their own original music in this industry. 

But there’s only one crossover act who went on to become one of the true innovators at the very record label where she was once employed. I’m talking about South African-British IDM innovator Mira Calix, who passed away suddenly this week at only 51.

“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,” her forever label Warp Records addressed in a note on social media. “She pushed the boundaries between electronic music, classical music and art in a truly unique way.”

Warp’s statement on the passing of Mira Calix (Image: Warp Records)

Born Chantal Francesca Passamonte in 1970, Mira found her way to Warp almost immediately upon her arrival to London in the early 90s. But while she was booking interviews for the likes of LFO, Aphex Twin and Autechre as the label’s in-house publicist, Calix also used to DJ the clubs at night and honing her own skills as an electronic producer until she became the first woman to become an official Warp Records artist. 

And from her 2000 debut One to One to just this past November’s “Dadaist Dance” masterpiece Absent Origin inspired by the works of Henri Matisse and , Mira Calix established a catalog of innovation that has been tragically cut short for reasons undisclosed at press time.

Mira was also renowned for her multidisciplinary work outside of dance music as well, creating scores for art installations including her award-winning surround-sound 2009 work My Secret Heart and composing for opera and theater, including productions of Julius Caesar and Coriolanus for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2012, she created the sound sculpture Nothing Is Set in Stone for the Cultural Olympiad, which ran alongside London’s Summer Olympics. In 2016, she opened the Moving Museum 35 in collaboration with students of the Nanjing University of the Arts; the mixed-media project was installed on a public bus in Nanjing, China.

 

VIDEO: Mira Calix “There Is Always a Girl With a Secret”

“She was in that sweet spot of having slogged for years in the music and art worlds, no compromises given, with recognition – finally – to the fact that she’d been doing this for 25 years now and had her strongest album yet with a political message that chimed with current events,” wrote DJ Food in a touching tribute to Mira on his website. “She’d made it, we were so proud, seeing our friend up there. We connected a final time in December last year for a much smaller gig soundtracking a collage-making night she had organised to go with her album, ‘absent. She was always so positive, even with the world events unfolding around us, she stood up and spoke out, sometimes raging against the injustices, more often than not sending out positive messages of unity. She brought people together, helped them, organised, she was a force for good in the world. I can’t believe she’s gone. My thoughts go out to her family, friends and partner, Andy.”

If you haven’t yet, make sure you take a moment on this BandCamp Friday to visit Mira’s page on the site and spend some time with this incredible body of work she has created in her all-too-short life.

Rest in Peace, Mira.

 

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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