Live-streamed and Quarantined: Marc Rebillet and Erykah Badu

Rocking side to side in front of a psychedelic backdrop, clad in nothing but a silk robe and boxer briefs, Marc Rebillet lived up to his eccentric reputation at the Coyote Drive-In livestream on June 27 in Fort Worth, Texas. 

I was first introduced to Rebillet this summer by an old friend and have been fascinated by his music ever since. Electronic artist, singer and comedian, the self-proclaimed “Loop Daddy” is known for improvised loops, a wailing, 70s-ballad-singer-type voice and, most of all, an air of absurdism so captivating, it’s hard to look away. In 2016, before the wave of pandemic-induced livestreaming grew popular, Rebillet began streaming performances from hotel rooms and various apartments across New York. In one, he crowdsources topic ideas and creates an entire song inspired by the Rubik’s Cube. In another, he has a conversation with “the voice in his head” by manipulating the pitch of his voice to sound as if there’s actually another person in the room. Not only is he one of the most prolific livestreaming musicians I know, but he also exudes a kind of creative energy that I can’t help but try to capture in this column.

While you can always count on Rebillet to cook up something original, what made his drive-in livestream particularly special was his collaboration with a surprise guest: Erykah Badu.

Referred to as the “Queen of Neo Soul,” Badu’s style is influenced by R&B, 70s soul and 80s hip-hop — a perfect match for Rebillet’s sound. As with any improvised show, I was a little nervous to see how they would mesh with each other and their audience. However, within the first few minutes, it became clear that the two had a natural chemistry, working seamlessly together to create a surreal experience. As audience members at the drive-in got settled in their cars, Rebillet laid down jazzy chords while Badu provided the vocals, encouraging the audience members to honk their horns in time with the song.

Visually and aurally, the performance was a kaleidoscope of rich house beats, layered synths and experimental sounds. Badu sported bright orange rain pants and a wire contraption balanced on top of her head; Rebillet was up to his usual antics, gyrating to the beat while zealously turning up knobs on his keyboard. As someone in the Youtube comments noted, the livestream felt like an Adult Swim special, and I couldn’t agree more. To me, this performance was a kind of chaotic release, one that gave me a brief escape from this reality and an introduction into another.