Last night, an exceptional number of bespectacled patrons filled El Rey Theater for the sophisticated electro-pop of Bachelorette. Annabel Alpers is the New Zealander behind the moniker, the humble orchestrator fronting a handpicked team of electronic counterparts.
She hovered over two flanking laptops, the exalted human centerpiece. One who employs her medium of presentation, namely laptop- and loop-based performance, must have a familiarity and confidence in controlling the given devices. Indeed, Annabel’s confidence was palpable as she constructed the complex soundscapes of a utopian future rich in bubblegum, LEDs, and robots. It takes skill to coordinate software, midi pads, guitar-picking, vocals, and loopers, but a rare craftsmanship and creativity to continually explore their potentials. Annabel plays with arrangements, layering sounds and triggering loops with the inventiveness and circumspection of an experimental scientist.
The set pulled from 2009’s playful science project, My Electric Family, and its self-titled follow-up from this year, which will be her last release under Bachelorette. One can hear Annabel Alpers’ ambition in the Bachelorette catalogue, but only in speaking with her can one understand her desire to break free from this project’s constraints of genre and instrumentation. She wishes to further her effort towards transporting listeners to an unfamiliar, even fantastical, sonic environment, and her live performance should convince fans to come along for the ride.
As she transported the El Rey attendees with the simplicity of disco synths and wah-ed guitar in “Mindwarp,” it became clear that the next trip that Annabel conducts will carry even more bespectacled passengers and travel further into the cosmos of her imagination. Soon we will be hearing something new from Annabel Alpers. Perhaps her family will no longer be electric, but she will remain an inspired orchestrator whose music is fantasy.