I’m disappointed I didn’t feature this back when it was released in November 2013 but no time like the motherfucking present to direct you to the healing power of Michelle Xen’s music via her newish EP “On For You” which is a celebration of all that is glorious about music. Beyond the incredible discipline on display with the overall arrangements it is the emotional journey of “On For You” that draws you in and takes you deep into the imagination of Michelle Xen. There is an incredible ache that swirls in and around the mechanical pulse of each track.
I think it’s worth mentioning that this is a truly original sound and one of the most soul connecting experiences I’ve had with a local artist in a very long time. This connection heightened the joy of my interaction with the music. I fell deeper in love with it as each listen hypnotised me with its emotional dialogue. Despite the theatre and wonderful visual aesthetic that Michelle Xen puts out there with her music, it’s quite clear that underneath that there is a deep sigh she is tapping into and wrestling with in order to deliver the music she has. Lyrically, “On For You” illustrates a very personal side to Michelle Xen and for all the futurism it strives for the simple rhythm of heartache and general disengagement with the ordinary and mediocre is blushed by pure imagination and fictional space flight yearnings to escape herself and the cruelty of the world around her. This music is about discovery and although it remains open to your own interpretation you get the feeling that Michelle didn’t want to make this music, she had to. It was vital to her overall existence that she communicates all of this swoony angst in order to build a new vehicle of survival and in the process finds a new safe place to land.
There is warmth to this largely electronic affair and it borrows dynamics from influences as diverse as modern hip hop and artists as timeless as Bjork. These are merely reference points however because Michelle Xen is a true original and people would be foolish to ignore the intense level of energy she puts into her art. This is a shiver pop classic designed for the loneliness and dilemma of modern disconnection where artists quite often struggle with the choice between art and pure commerce. With her EP “On For You” Michelle Xen illustrates that she is not only a master of making very viable modern pop music but she also can use the many stylistic influences of a wide range of art movements to communicate what an intelligent and vital artist she is.
I’ve long lived by the ethos that there is a big difference between being a musician and being an artist – Michelle Xen is an artist and her music may not be the instant hit of commerce you need to style your existence with but she is the warm hug that lasts long into the night and takes you on an adventure full of imagination and shivers.
By: Dan Newton