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Monday, June 27, 2016

Poppet Makes Electronic Baroque-Pop That is as Weird as it is Wonderful

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Poppet - SABRINA ARAUJO
  • Sabrina Araujo
  • Poppet

Most of the time, when you hear an artist described as being "emotionally honest," they're usually an NPR-approved indie-folk singer-songwriter or that guy from your high school who just discovered Bright Eyes and his dad’s acoustic guitar.

Not so with Poppet. The Olympia, Wash. native makes "emotionally honest" music that recognizes that trauma and pain, especially in regards to heartbreak and love, are universal experiences and that we can all find meaning in expressing and connecting with both. 

“When people cry during my shows that’s almost the biggest compliment to me,” Poppet says. “Because sometimes I’m almost crying. My performances are definitely very intense.”

And a Poppet show really is a performance. On her current tour, which includes stops in Oakland and Emeryville, she will be performing solo shows using only a synth keyboard, a drum machine, and a looping pedal. Dancer Nina Joly will join her onstage, and they'll be wearing “floor length, amazing, gold, sequined gowns." Part performance art, part musical act, the best way to describe a Poppet show is that it lies somewhere between Kraftwerk, Nintendo 64 video game soundtracks, Dirty Projectors, and Grimes.
“People could call it electro-pop, but that’s a really wide banner,” she says. “I feel like it’s baroque-pop. I use harpsichords and strings and those types of things, so it’s probably more fitting.” While synthesizers and electronics might provide the backbone of Poppet’s sound, the real centerpiece is her voice, which she stacks into choruses with a looping pedal and folds into melodies and chord progressions, reminiscent of Bjork and Kate Bush.

“I rely so heavily on my voice to provide the emotional content of the music,” Poppet says. “I hope people are tuning into the content of the songs. I’m definitely posing difficult question occasionally, or things that I’ve struggled with that I’m trying to find the answer to, or things that humanity is struggling with in general.”

One question posed on her most recent album, DESOLATION LOVESONGS, which she self-released on Bandcamp, is, “Is love useless?”

Inspired by what she refers to as “ruinous cycles” of love and relationships, DESOLATION LOVESONGS is meant to be an exploration of the nature and limits of love and romance in the 21st century, a dilemma that many feel burdened by, especially the younger generations. 
Of her name, Poppet explains that it is an "affectionate term for a female or a doll. But on the other hand, it’s another term for a voodoo doll, so it really rides this dichotomy between innocence and darkness. Poppet has always been an expression of the very inner wedge of my personality, but when I’m performing, I want people to have the space to reflect on their own emotional standpoints in life… or just relate at least.”

Poppet will perform on Wednesday, June 29 at Secret Garden Gallery in Oakland, and on Thursday, June 30 at Scandinavia in Emeryville. More info here

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Sam Ribakoff

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