Meet this year’s most surprising hitmakers

Tra La La Blip’s music may bring hypnotic, synth-heavy eighties songs like “Axel F” and “99 Luftballons” to mind. But the ensemble itself is unlike anything we’d heard of.

All the performers on the band’s first album, Soundbeam Sessions Volume 1, have mental or physical disabilities: They jam, write, and record their songs at an assisted-living community in New South Wales, using electronic instruments like the Soundbeam — an invisible “keyboard” that converts hand movements into musical notes — and a MacBook. None of this detracts from the music: “Anzac March” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Moby album, and “Barry Dianne” is as lovely and moving as any Björk recordings we’ve heard.

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Meet this year’s most surprising hitmakers