New Zealander Annabel Alpers, known as Bachelorette since she created the solo project in 2004, has a gift of blending genres. Her girl-group pop, psychedelic, folk and electronic songs caused her to be likened to a “lo-fi, one-woman version of Animal Collective” by Q Magazine in 2009.
Alpers, who played in Christchurch bands Hiss Explosion and Hawaii Five-O before going solo, has been doing rather well for a self-declared “small sensation.” Songs such as Her Rotating Head and Long Time Gone were used in the sixth season of Grey’s Anatomy, and she has toured with Animal Collective, Beach House and, recently, The Magnetic Fields.
With its synth tones and looping harmonies, Bachelorette’s music is reminiscent not only of Animal Collective, but also of electronic gods Radiohead. Elements of both bands’ music is mixed with 60s psychedelia and girl-group pop, often causing her songs to sound like they were not created by a single person. Instead, they exist as a portal to a faraway future when computers make music by looping pre-recorded melodies and harmonies.
Although Bachelorette’s albums are the perfect soundtrack for day-dreaming, drifting off into your own thoughts while watching her live is near impossible. Bachelorette opened for The Magnetic Fields at Le National on Saturday, March 31. Surrounded by her guitar, keyboard, multiple mics and her trusty computer, Alpers seemed lost in her own world as she performed. Her eyes shifted from the strings of her guitar as she played a riff to her computer as she looped it, and then to the crowd as she sang a harmony into the microphone. Remaining in a small cubic space on the stage for her set, her concentration was only broken at the end of each song when she quietly whispered “Thank you” before taking a sip out of her wine glass. Seeing one woman creating all of the sound live was completely captivating.
Her music filled the former theatre, the echo of her looped harmonies bouncing off the walls as each song came to a close. Midway through her set, Alpers explained to the audience that the large screen generating computer graphics in back of her worked according to volume. The eruption of screams and applause that followed caused a series of triangles to dance behind the giggling Alpers.
Unfortunately, with only one three studio albums and one EP under her belt, Alpers has decided that it’s time to put the Bachelorette moniker to sleep, declaring that she would like to go back to being in a band. Nonetheless, whatever project Alpers takes on next will surely prove interesting. Perhaps she will blend genres in an even more unique way than she did with Bachelorette’s “computer folk.” Maybe a combination of classical, electronic and heavy metal music? Oh well, we can only dream.
Bachelorette’s tour with The Magnetic Fields may be finished, but you can check out her music on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/bachelorettepop.