Mira Calix a.k.a. Chantal Passamonte is one of the rare female international stars in the field of music that Avanto showcases. Despite recording for the Warp label, traditionally associated with digital sheen, Calix's music is characterized by a human warmth and an unfinished touch. This earthiness is highlighted by the other sound sources (besides synthesizers) she uses: knocking of rocks, rubbing on wood, splashing water. This is how her second album Skimskitta has been described: "neolithic Industrial music though Passamonte also has a taste for Erik Satie-like piano pieces" (The Wire), and "a spacious and emotional female antidote to that phallic trend of increasingly bizarre beats — the hair-metal guitar solos of the IDM genre" (www.imaginaryalbums.com).
Calix's musical background lies in the aftermath of rave culture and the more experimental indie guitar rock of My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and their ilk. By the mid-90's she was DJ'ing in the English 'Open Mind' collective, whose ambient events achieved their footnote in historical annals for the open and unclassifiable nature of their selection of music. The significance of the ambient boom of the time lay mainly in the way it opened doors for many other kinds of music besides ambient itself - just as long as they weren't primarily dancefloor genres (unlike the preceding techno and rave music). All this can be heard in Calix's own music as well.
Mira Calix has a personal angle to what has become something of a theme for this year's Avanto, i.e. immigration and globalisation. Calix hails from Durban, South Africa, from where she moved to England in 1991 when she was 22. In many of her interviews she has talked about being homesick for the African scenery and how this is reflected in her music.