Choose The Light
MI-GU is three albums in and unless you were paying close attention, you would never realize it. For this band, the parts are bigger than the sum.
This duo, comprised of Yuko Araki (drums/vocals) and Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu (guitars/producer), come from an eclectic array of independent groups: Cornelius, Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, If By Yes, and Brother’s Sister’s Daughter. Without that as a backing, these two would be lost in obscurity or simply “that band that sounds like Deerhoof.” Okay, maybe a little Cibo Matto.
Choose the Light collects tracks from these three albums (migu, From Space, and Pulling From Above). It allows us to realize just how important this band is.
Constrained by the limitations of two band members, space and time is what they exploit in their music. Simple, yet oddly constructed, songs like the opener “Choose the Light” and even more in “Lazy,” shows off timing. The guitars meander off while Araki spins a melancholy web of abstract prose.
It’s escapism through daydreams and the electronics that fizzle within add to it all. From dissonance in “Floating,” their atmospheric non-human tones clash within arthouse poetry. MI-GU forces you to look at abstract thoughts in an even more abstract way.
MI-GU Infomercial by Mike Watt
“Drummer and the Dancer” also does this but in a more traditional way, whether there really is anything traditional to it or not. The illusion is in place, and it’s enough for you to be fooled into their realization that the person is equally important to the physics of the movement.
“From Space” soars like someone who overdosed from too many Daw science fiction books from the ‘70s. It’s a glowing exit. And not like we need Araki’s spoken word, the music does a fine job at laying down context. Next to its subtlety and spiring strings, the song builds a sense of unpredictability within an outlying order.
What Mi-Gu can accomplish is that no matter how far out they go with their ideas, it always makes sense. Choose the Light proves that within the context of three albums, there is a strong consistency between these songs. This collective is the sum that equals the parts and rightfully so.