Ayia Napa Reunion 2013!

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In the aberrant words of Maria and the Mirrors’ head soundscaper, Charles Feinstein, this collective’s MO is all “Dancehall queen meets Slovakian sex worker, under the watchful eye of Bryan Ferry”. This dichotomous charade finely encapsulates Mirrors World. All seed and decadence, levity, discomfort and fun, it is a fabulously disorienting terror-zone wherein you’ll feel assaulted but also strangely mesmerised and immersed in nice times.

Prepare to sacrifice all at the altar of tape and drum!

Formed “beneath Deptford” in the late ‘00s, the doom-tribe’s first sonic foray was a song about a deceased feline called The Story of Jack, with a sample lyric being, “Jack …. Jack …. Bring back my dead cat”.

From these insolent beginnings and an earlier Throbbing Gristle/Faust inspired release, Omar (2001) the band evolved into a more virulent force, with 2011’s Travel Sex EP (Parlour Records) and 2012’s Gemini Enjoy My Life (Exotic Pylon), thrusting towards a more danceable gabba/post rave apocalyptic direction. Charles suggests that in 2013 they will release Ayia Napa Reunion 12 inch, “a 2-Step requiem in 4 movements” but Glass isn’t entirely sure if this is taken to be seriously.

Live, the amiable Mister Feinstein performs much of the backing tapes and sample manipulations, but The Mirrors not-so-secret weapon is the dual drum and vocal assault of Keira J Fox and Chrystabel, old friends who drive the shows with giddying call-and-response parries and ill-tempered chants. Things get pretty emotional onstage between this unholy triumvirate.

In their relatively short tenure, Maria and The Mirrors have played in destinations disparate as Italy, Berlin, Dalston and Hull. But their ambition has always been to “get a free trip to Japan by banging on some drums”. This is actually coming to fruition as they are touring this this November. Glass spoke to them before they jetted out.

So your moniker is pretty misleading, where did it derive?
It’s a line from From A to B & Back Again by Andy Warhol, describing the scene at the his studio (“when I would get there in the morning the same people I’d left the night before were still there, still going strong, still with Maria and the mirrors”) – Maria being Maria Callas on the Victrola.

The parameters you work within are quite multifarious. What have been your most memorable recitals and incidents?
Playing the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt was bizarre – they say bankers haven’t been penalised for their speculative trading leading to the economic cataclysm of the previous decade – but the expressions on their noggins suggested some form of retribution took place that nite. In the warm glow of a giant rotating blue Euro monument.

Your music could never be considered derivative per sé but who do you consider to be your peers past and present?
We have recently been lucky enough to play with such wonderful acts as Cut Hands, Astral Social Club and a nice chap from Cork called Aodhgan who did some ace slightly Shed-y techno … other inspirations include David Guetta, Shani Cuppcake, Coil and Cybersonik. And just got the second Flying Lizards LP Fourth Wall (1979). It’s amazing!

Which era or country do you feel you’d be the most relevant?
Japan 2012.

Despite your music being rather exclusive, who would you appoint as a guest musician to enhance the Mirrors sound?
Mick Karn, (Japan/Dali’s Car) – for fretless bass licks and a saxophone duet of questionable aesthetic value.

Which historical epoch has most influenced your approach?
THESE are the good old days. Autotune is like penicillin … it has cured music of mediocrity. To say music was better in the past is like getting nostalgic over the swelling buboes of an unfortunate vessel of the Big Black Death.

Your performances can be quite harrowing viewing at times. Would you prefer the audience to be happy or terrified?
We would like to give them a chance to enjoy themselves completely.

Who would you most love to play in front of?
Nicolas Cage, though we’d throw him out if he popped on his bear suit and started getting punchy.

Which member of royalty would you take on a cruise or to a tropical island?
Carol II of Romania. I know very little about Carol II, but if you google him a rather lovely pic of him sporting a Hawaiian shirt appears, quite a fetching garment. I would take him on a cruise to Hampshire’s beautiful Hayling Island, plenty of gravel for everyone, views of the nearby international shipping lanes and you can get chips next to the car park.

by Benjamin Lovegrove

Experience Maria and the Mirrors here

Posted: 16 November 2012

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Glass Online music and literature writer

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