- Body-Piano-Machine (Gaymonkey)
focussed his efforts on producing the award-winning efforts
of eccentric French pop diva Camille, MaJiKer (derived from
full name Matthew Ker, a Midlands-born Englishman now resident
in a Parisian arrondissement) has now pieced together his
very own long-player. And it's a suitably off-kilter 19
track offering, which will come as no surprise to those
already aware of how he helped hone Camille's tasty brand
takes its title from the core components that make up the
whole album, i.e. using the body (by tapping, hitting or
drumming on it) or voice to generate noise, a piano and
one machine in particular, a Yamaha PSS 270 (home) keyboard.
The results are far more accessible and pop-driven than
that initial, rather limiting, musical premise may seem
to dictate. And with five of those tracks clocking in at
a mere minute, it's not as overblown as it might at first
is formed of a combination of clicks, hisses, gulps and
other noises that defy categorisation. This is beatboxing
taken beyond its usual boundaries. A couple of tracks are
skits made up purely of a cut and paste collage of random
words, noises and bodily strikes, such as Body Count.
forms the start of one of two trilogies of short tracks
that showcase each of the three elements that make up the
album. Next up is the simple but beautiful Pianopus 1, followed
by Machine Mash-Up 1, which is one of a few occasions when
the keyboard is allowed to reveal its true colours as a
home keyboard. Yet in spite of its simplistic ropiness,
it's still catchy.
it's an approach born of pure artistic brilliance or verging
on annoying self-indulgence is a matter of opinion (and
let's not forget Camille's second album Le Fil was built
on the concept of a thread running through everything),
but it's when these three strands converge on the rest of
the album and create full, accomplished tracks that Body-Piano-Machine
truly comes into its own.
Pink Piano has all of the hooks a good pop song should as
Camille adds her distinctive vocals over the top of MaJiKer's
clicks, clacks and finger-snaps. The track then takes flight
at its climax with a beautiful soaring musicbox-style twinkling
complimented by the diva's near-operatic, layered vocals.
& Wires sees MaJiKer's oohs and aahs join a buzzing
organ and gorgeous piano line, while the chorus will keep
repeating itself time and time again in your head. Tongue,
probably the album's most immediate highlight, is an epic
electro workout, combining warm melodies with a stomping
beatbox backing and driving synthline as Ker again adds
his whispered lyrical delivery to the mix.
times there's humour (with lyrics like "Beep beep!
I'm flashing for you"), and at others theatrical brooding
darkness as on The Guillotine. Moments of dramatic Euro-dance
nestling alongside melancholic balladry and genres are never
fully observed or adhered to. All of this adds up to a refreshingly
challenging listen that somehow manages to remain fully
accessible at the same time.
may appear to be an eccentric oddity on first listen gradually
reveals itself to be a strong, uniquely styled pop album
after a few listens. If you stick with it, you will reap
the rewards and find yourself being nagged by many of the
hooks and catches that saturate the album. If enough people
allow themselves to enter MaJiKer's offbeat musical world
then the Paris-based UK expat may well end up garnering
the same critical acclaim and commercial success as his
famous French friend.