|Mi & L'Au — H2O |
Mi & L'Au — H2O
±±± H2O has "various beautifully orchestrated electronics, arranged almost like chamber-music, but more in loop-form. It is hard to notice to which extend some sounds/instrumentations might already originate from some orchestral instruments or how much they are reproduced with programming. A really tasteful, well worked-out and enjoyable album with many effective creative ideas" — Gerald Van Waes
Location: Helsinki, Etelä-Suomen, Finland
Album release: October 28, 2013
Record Label: ALTER-K Rec.
01. Fly Together (5:49)
02. Here We Are (4:07)
03. More Than We Can Say (4:03)
04. May I (3:34)
05. The Book (5:16)
06. Bêtise du soir (1:55)
07. Drown The Sound (2:18)
08. Raging Eye (7:38)
09. TV Drives Me Insane (4:43)
10. Bonnie (7:01)
11. Klättra Upp (2:30)
℗ 2013 Mi And L'Au
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± We have recently finished recording an album by Mi and L'au here in Brooklyn. I co-produced it with them. It turned out very lovely indeed. It was a privilege to work with such talented, sincere, and intensely focused individuals. They have a quite passion that is expressed both in the way they are as human beings and in their songs. ± The music is austere, but simultaneously warm. Picture a glacier with a red ember glowing in its center. Mi and L'au met in Paris a few years back. Mi is Finnish and was working as a model to make ends meet and L'au (who's French) was working in the music industry (soundtracks, I think). They fell deeply and immediately in love, and after a short period of moving from apartment to apartment in Paris, they gave everything up and decided to move to the woods in Finland, so they could be alone together in peace and to spend their time discovering each other and their music.
± They live in a small cabin in complete isolation with the barest of essentials and they spend virtually all their time making music together in solitude. They are pure and gentle souls (Devendra's song, from Oh Me Oh MY... "Gentle Soul" was written for L'au the two had met in Paris when Devendra was wandering there, and L'au took him in, and they also made music together). Their music is bare, delicate, and made with simple instrumentation - voice, acoustic guitars, and other very sparse orchestrations. I wouldn't say it compares at all to the current crop of neo-hippy "weird folk" etc. though. It has the naked quality of certain early Nico recordings, or Chet Baker (I don't mean there's a stylistic similarity by any means - just a sense of space)...soulful and elegant, without being touchy-feely or confessional. Their music reminds me of how one might imagine a winter Finnish landscape - haunting and pure.
± These recordings were made with love in Mi and L'au's cabin in Finland and then overdubs were made in the wilds of Brooklyn by themselves as well as the ubiquitous Akron/Family, Julia Kent (Antony and the Johnsons), Paul Cantelon, Jerome O'Brien and others. Overdubs were made at Seizure's Palace (Angels of Light. Devendra Banhart, Akron/Family) and mixed at Trout recording by Bryce Goggin (Phish, Pavement, Lemonheads, Angels of Light, Akron/Family etc.).
±± "H2O n'est pas seulement le 4ème album du duo formé par Mira Romantschuk et Laurent Leclère. C'est aussi l'histoire d'une rencontre qui se raconte de manière musicale et poétique ; une histoire qui s'épanouit au fil de chaque chanson, qui se déploie à grands coups d'espaces et s'établit avec le temps. H2O est une oeuvre résolument européenne, à la fois latine, scandinave et anglo-saxonne, entièrement composée, enregistrée et produite par leurs propres soins pendant six mois, entre l'Espagne et la Finlande, prenant naissance lors d'une nuit qualifiée de "magique" par le duo, avec "Here We Are" composé en un éclair comme un manifeste pour la vie. Avec H2O, MI AND L'AU vient probablement d'accoucher de son chef d'oeuvre, paradoxalement son album le plus radical et le plus facile d'accès de sa discographie : plus limpide mais plus fouillé, plus chirurgical mais plus chaud, plus dépouillé mais plus ample, plus violent mais plus lumineux. Le génie de leur oeuvre est de créer quelque chose de totalement nouveau et excitant: difficile de distinguer les influences, les instruments réels ou programmés. H2O place MI AND L'AU sur la carte des grands groupes : ceux qui expérimentent, ceux qui savent se perdre, sans jamais abandonner l'idée qu'il nous faut donner un sens à l'existence."
±± Après le succès de leur précédent album "If Beauty Is A Crime", le duo Mira & Laurent remet ça. A découvrir.
By Gerald Van Waes
±± This new record took water as the main theme, as the (life) element that connects and makes connections. The album continued, also musically, the road of the previous album that was dedicated to film music composer François de Roubaix. It took nearly 6 months to complete and was recorded between Finland and Spain.
±± The first track, a song which has been used to promote the album with single and video, has powerful electronic pop rhythms with analogue synths and rhythms, with the slightly breathy female voice (Mira Romantschuk) being recorded loud enough into the foreground. It has various beautifully orchestrated electronics, arranged almost like chamber-music, but more in loop-form. It is hard to notice to which extend some sounds/instrumentations might already originate from some orchestral instruments, like double base or plucks, or how much they are reproduced with programming.
±± On the next track, which is another song, we are brought to dreamier heights. ±± Here you can hear how the real orchestral element moves forward better, also in programmed form (string orchestra and harp), combined with subtle electronic and rhythmical arrangements. Even more plucked elements can be heard on the next song, besides some other elements like piano and keyboard-sounds (?) of reeds. Laurent Leclère, who has arranged these scores, really shows his talent as arranger, even more than on the previous album.
±± On a melancholic song like “May I” (plucked rhythms, clarinet keyboards, ..) Mira's breathy voice has something of a crying hiss in her voice, which fits perfectly (deliberately or not) to the song. There are also small variations provided of reverberating electronic rhythms in addition to the chamber orchestra foundation. “The Book” is sung by Laurent himself, with his own, more Gothic voice, recalling me a bit of Dead Can Dance. While the basic arrangements themselves recall classical music, the electronic melodic rhythms make it more something between well arranged film-music (as it was intended) and an attractive form of alternative post-wave-pop. This track is followed by “Bétise du soir”, which is an instrumental arranged by a mostly plucked orchestra, with a few touches of clarinet. “Drown the sound”, another melancholic song is just voice and piano. “TV Drives me Insane” is another instrumental, which is dominated by the electronic rhythms this time, carefully arranged in several layers of different nature, and loop-like, with an orchestra part sample to add some contrasts in this mix, uplifting the expression. After another song with electronics/orchestra, the last track is a song with solo piano again; it is sung with Finnish lyrics this time. Mira's voice and song here remind me just slightly of that particular Swedish singer from the 70s, Turid, even though she was even folksier.
±± A really tasteful, well worked-out and enjoyable album with many effective creative ideas.
Intro video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u5fwKW9T5U
Label: http://alter-k.com/ & audio: https://soundcloud.com/alter-k
|Mi & L'Au — H2O |