“Life is so fragile” is the phrase that has echoed among friends, as last week claimed producer SOPHIE. My heart goes out especially to those who knew her, especially in this time of loss.
Consequence of Sound has a complete obituary; The Guardian has gone on to extended coverage of the Glasgow native, and Rolling Stone waxes poetic. The death was reported over the weekend, following an accident in Athens as an official statement says she climbed to view the full moon last week.
Far from just a trend, SOPHIE’s hyper-futuristic pop seems relevant in 2021 as ever, particularly in our virtualized world and its expressive use of pop and digital identities. That work was emotionally direct, hyperactive, full of a seemingly boundless and unfettered energy. While SOPHIE saw international prominence partly through her association with PC Music, she went on to epic collaborative achievements, including work with Madonna, Arca, Vince Staples, Carli XCX, Jimmy Edgar, shygirl, and more.
This first video is not only a great introduction for those who didn’t know her work, but a truly beautiful way of imagining sound in the 21st century:
But for all that songwriting ability, the real gift was any chance to see her infectious live performances.
And some songs for many fans and friends have taken on new poignant meaning.
And from the QT project with PC Music:
For the glowing press now, SOPHIE was subjected to sometimes misunderstanding writers and transphobia, and it would be irresponsible of me not to make note of that. (One major outlet quietly pulled an article that had accused her, among other artists, of appropriating gender.) I’m not out to shame those writers, either; I think it’s a chance for any of us who write to be more responsible and more empathetic – and simply to listen more to the people making the music.
Music is a place to express deeply personal feeling, and yet there’s so much musical discourse that can be dehumanizing – to obscure artists, to popular artists. I wish we would ground more of what we say about music and music artists in a human scale. So I’ll leave this with some of those remembrances. I’m deeply sorry to those of you who were touched by this music or who were close to Sophie.
And some friends and colleagues of ours:
Jimmy Edgar – doubly tough to read at this time when we can’t be close to people like this as much:
Robert Lippok – actually there is something so hopeful about seeing this crowd dancing, even if we can’t do that now: