Mi and L'au | Kyle Undemstark, beautiful, minimal, and imaginative Review written on 2006/01/11
It starts with the simple pluck of a guitar. The gentle, whisper-like vocals soon follow. Somewhere in the background lie lush, atmospheric noise, bells, and the like. It is with these elements that help create the uniquely familiar sounds of Mi and L'au, a duo of the most peculiar sorts who write their music in complete isolation. And it¹s not just any type of isolation, either. We're talking a cabin in the woods. But not just any woods. Finnish woods. Yes, some random cabin located in some random woods in the country of Finland. So, without even hearing Mi and L'au, one can easily imagine what type of music this couple is capable of creating: stark, beautiful, minimal, and imaginative.
A majority of the music on this self-titled debut is relatively subdued and melancholic, breathing bleak life (but life nonetheless) into their little world of remoteness. The male/female vocals compliment each other advantageously and stand strong by themselves, allowing Mi and L'au to harmonize in a most serene way or calm the listener with their respective voices either way, it's effective and blossoming.
Speaking of blossoming, their music creates a distinctive sense of hope (as desolate as it may seem). It's as if Mi and L'au holed themselves up in that cabin during the coldest of winters for inspiration that could only come from such a place. A place to wait for rebirth, perhaps. A place to wait for a winter to be done. And creating these 14 sweet, forlorn tracks was "their bottle of wine" to get them through it. But, you know, they had each other as well. And, quite frankly, you can hear that within these tracks the feeling you get when you need nothing from life but the support of one other person. Calm. Very calm.
And this very calmness that they create together is clearly unambiguous, which is noticeably defined on "A Word in Your Belly" as L'au starkly sings 'stay calm for a while" throughout the eerily string-filled song. So, welcome Mi and L'au to the spot in your record collection that calls for the mellow, the sincere, and the hauntingly beautiful. It doesn't take a whole lot to become wrapped up in their despondent ways. And once you're there, you really won't want to leave the cabin or the house, rather.