What Is It?
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Bob Boilen | July 6, 2022, Maylee Todd’s (home) concert is filled with electronics, a window into a virtual world, and the first digital avatar to ever perform a Tiny Desk concert. Maylee introduces us to her avatar Maloo, and the songs presented here from Maylee Todd’s debut album, Maloo, are sung from the avatar’s perspective.
Written during the pandemic, the album is about mental health and filled with multiple science fiction stories, including one about a programmable planet depicted in the “window’” above Maylee Todd’s head.
The electronic sounds that help tell these sci-fi tales include Maylee’s Tenori-on, a Yamaha instrument comprised of a panel of lights that, when touched, create patterns of sound. An iPhone pointing at Maylee’s face captures her reactions and expressions, which are then reflected in her avatar. Her musical partner Kyvita (Kyle Tan) accompanies her, adding textures from his synthesizers.
In the song “Dream With You” Maylee explains that as the avatar is living its life, it realizes, “my brain, it’s doing things that I don’t want it to do.” Maylee Todd explains that Maloo, “wrote a song, a breakup song, saying bye bye to certain aspects that aren’t serving it anymore.”.
Before her final song, “Absolute Time and Space,” Maylee Todd makes a passionate plea: “Hold the ones you love dear to your heart, will ya! Cause time is passing by — we do not have absolute time and space — as it turns out — in these bodies.”.
“Infinite Program” “Grab Your Guts” “No Classification” “Dream With You” “Absolute Time and Space”.
Maylee Todd: vocals, synths, iPhone face tracking Kyvita: bass, keys Maloo (avatar): performance.
Director and Editor: Mason Rothschild Mix and Master: Jake Viator Engineer: Chris Dwyer Production Designer and AD: Leo Johnson DP: Elisha Jakob Maltinski Cam Op: Petra Wurzinger Cam Op: Roderick Hale, Ron Vasquez Art Director: Allison Jensen Set Dresser: B Armstrong Grip: Josh Brantner.
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bob Boilen Video Editor: Kara Frame Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer VP, Visuals, and Music: Keith Jenkins Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann.
LICENSES[Merlin] Stones Throw Records, Alpha Pup Records (on behalf of Stones Throw Records)
I am not a fan of the aesthetics or the avatar stuff, but the music & singing was better than expected.
- John Jr