Mi And L'au | Review

Illinois Entertainer | Trevor Fisher

the most obvious example of music imitating environment that has ever been put to tape

Mi and l'au preview

Mi, L'au, Everyone,  Wednesday February 1, 2006

Empty Bottle, Chicago
Saturday, February 4, 2006

Mi & L'au's story is every music PR person's wet dream. As the story goes, the couple met in Paris, where the Finnish Mi was working as a model and the French L'au was working in the music industry. They immediately fell in love and moved from place to place in Paris before deciding to give up everything and retreat to a cabin tucked away in a the isolated woods of Finland. Apparently they live as simply as possible: depending on only the barest essentials and spending nearly every minute making music together.

The duo's eponymous debut on Young God may be the most obvious example of music imitating environment that has ever been put to tape. Recorded at their cabin and cloaked in desolation, the 14 songs are so delicate it almost feels like the CD would shatter in its player if there were to be, God forbid, a thump of the drum. But there are no drum beats, and really, there isn't much of anything to interrupt the tranquility. To call their music sparse is stating the extremely obvious. With the exception of some occasional piano, banjo, and other instrumentation, these songs depend solely on L'au's conservative acoustic guitar and Mi's hush-hush singing.

This stuff makes Iron & Wine seem like Manowar. On "Study" and "Bums" Mi & L'au sound like they are attempting to play/sing as gently as possible but still register on the recorder, and "Boxer" might contain a bit of electric guitar, but it"s gone so fast it's difficult to tell. Some artists need an elaborate painting, filled with eye-popping colors to properly translate their creativity. Others can get their point across with a bare-bone pencil sketch. Li And L'au? We're guessing their fingers and a dusty floor are the only thing needed for their masterpiece