Recently I chanced upon the electronic pop artist KLEOPATRA and soon began to discover there was more to her than might initially meet the eye. Described on her socials as “a performance android with human consciousness”, KLEOPATRA takes very human situations and blends them with an element of futurism that gives her art a depth that many emerging artists do not hold in quite the same abundance.
The themes of her most recent single ‘Ukiyo’, although reflecting very modern problems such as beauty standards and materialism, actually gain inspiration from ancient Japanese culture. ‘Ukiyo’ adopts the notion of a ‘floating, fleeting or transient’ world. The word “Ukiyo” describes a concept of urban life in ‘Edo Period’ Japan (1600 to 1867), one which centres upon beauty, leisure and pleasure. The idea however, is not quite so superficial and narrowly defined as it may seem. “Ukiyo” is in fact a homophone, also possessing the definition “sorrowful world”. The world in question is one of a mundane human existence, restricted by death and rebirth. These are the states from which Buddhists seek relief, themselves abstaining from worldly pleasures.
It is this dichotomy that lends a characteristic thematic richness to the song, showing a high level of artistic vision and maturity. The music itself is dark, electronic, and contains an ebb and flow that demonstrates an acknowledgement that you have to strip back before you build in musical intensity. The vocals are calmly executed, moving the narrative along in the verses, and flourish in the busier chorus. The Japanese sounding motif we are introduced to at the start of the song continues as part of a question and answer with the vocals in the verse and also finds a place in the chorus as a continuous loop. The chorus is also elevated, or perhaps more literally described as lowered, by a more prominent and pulsing synth bass line that gives it a real gravity. The arrangement, structure and mixing employed in the song are altogether well thought out and give the song a real impact.
‘Ukiyo’ is perhaps KLEOPATRA’s most accomplished song to date, building on the success of earlier releases ‘Wasted on Youth’ and the fantastic debut ‘Cameo’, which together have amassed over 40,000 streams on Spotify. KLEOPATRA translates the rich electronic soundscapes of her recorded music into her live show and echoes her musical style in her onstage aesthetics. KLEOPATRA has been seen wearing a selection of sleek modern outfits in her press and performances and has even been spotted sporting a ‘Geordi La Forge’-esque glowing visor whilst on stage. Clearly this android is smart enough to look after her artistic vision.
Previously, KLEOPATRA has performed at Resonate Live, Tenement Trail and at a sold-out Hug and Pint in Glasgow. Her live appearances continue into 2020 with shows in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dunfermline already scheduled. A full list of her announced upcoming shows can be found below:
Opium, Edinburgh 05/03/20 Tickets HERE
Stereo, Glasgow 06/03/20 Tickets HERE
Monty’s, Dunfermline 07/03/20 Tickets available soon
Stag and Dagger, Glasgow 03/05/20 Tickets HERE
Hug and Pint 18/07/20 Tickets available soon
KLEOPATRA on the web:
– Sandy (Chief Pict)