by Roberto Torreggiani
Photos by Wensi
The Atlanta duo of Misfilter is ready to make an impact with their mischievous sounds.
Misfilter brings a commanding and deep sound to the dance scene. The duo consists of Chord, a breaks DJ, and Piper, a vocalist. Their sound has been compared to that of Kosheen, Puretone, and Portishead. The duo says they are flattered by these comparisons, but have their own identity.
Misfilter took different paths in their musical journey before they finally met. Chord's career began in the mid-90's after discovering artists like Andrea Parker, Bjork, William Orbit, Red Snapper, Roni Size, and Massive Attack. Having fallen in love with electronic music, and production in general, Chord decided to start making his own. Outfitting his computer with some of the latest programs available at the time, Chord began experimenting with a few sounds. What started off as a hobby; quickly became an obsession. Software led to synthesizers, and synths led to a makeshift bedroom studio (where all of Misfilter's material would eventually be recorded).
Recovering from the break up of his first two band projects, Late Halo (a trance/techno group) & Coarse Air(a rock/rap/techno fusion deal); and fed up with trying to "make it" as just a struggling jungle/breakbeat DJ, Misfilter arose when Chord began recording material for an 'artist' album. He had placed several ads looking for female vocalists to broaden the appeal of his project. The first call back he received just so happened to be Piper. Piper came over immediately, wrote and recorded the song "One by One" all in the first day.
Piper's introduction into the world of music is very different. Her grandmother and aunt were two very instrumental women in her development as an artist. By the age of 5, Piper's grandmother was dressing both Piper and her sister up in fake furs and jewelry as they would put on a 'show' for her grandmother and aunt, and all of their friends. The music hall (better known as her grandmother's living room) was always sold out. By sixth grade, her great-aunt had passed. Her grandmother though, knowing she was well over her classic performances, entertained another side of her she didn't know existed. She bought Piper a piano. She started taking lessons, and would play for her grandmother as much as she could. When her grandmother began losing her sight, Piper would guide her through her world in musical expressions. Piper would call her and play for her over the phone; she would do anything to show her appreciation. Some time passed, and she no longer came to the phone or came home. At that point, Piper started visiting her grandmother by taking her guitar to her burial site to play. Piper always remembers her as the dancing angel on her side.
Given all this background, Piper was ready to proceed. She studied classical piano for nine years. But, while playing other peoples music was fun, she yearned to play her own... write her own emotions... conveying herself. So, Piper bought a keyboard and started writing. While she loved the beautiful classical anthems, she had recently been turned onto electronic music. Piper did not see the direction or theory at first, but that all changed when she went to her first rave. She would never be the same or feel the music the same. It crept inside her and made camp! Still, she would go through a trial rock band before she found Chord. Piper had so much to say and she owed it to her grandmother and aunt to find it. Not only that, but she owed it to herself. After months of searching, she found a rock band, but what she soon realized was that she hadn't found herself. She wasn't meant to write/perform rock music, she was meant to express that same world that leaked into her soul a year prior... electronic music.
There's no set way Piper and Chord approach recording their songs. Sometimes Piper will sing a song she's written, dry, over drum loops leaving Chord to structure songs around her melodies. Other times, Chord will give Piper finished tracks in which to write lyrics. "It's very much organic and we just go with what we feel." One of the biggest benefits on the technical side of Chord's production is choosing not to use MIDI. Instead, Chord prefers to use time-correction and audio sequencing technology, which makes the process faster, and in his mind, more organic.
The sound of Misfilter can be described as very 'breakbeat driven'. Inspired by Chord's days of spinning drum n' bass, and Piper's love for breaks, the 'breakbeat' is probably the only motif that can be found through out all of their music. While it is not a sound that is common to the scene, Chord feels as if it is "worthy of audience attention." Currently, Misfilter is working hard on their live performances (with guitarist James Staubes of Redshirt Freshman) and recording material. In addition to their live PA dates and future album release, Chord and Piper plan to release a demo featuring Piper's vocals, and if everything falls into alignment, a club tour will soon follow. Piper sums up the duo's goals the best: "Trying to bring the music to life."
You can catch Misfilter at the Deux Plex on Cheshire Bridge on Tuesday, October 15th. Visit www.misfilter.com for more details on the duo and how to get your hands on a demo.
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