Hundred Waters have lost another member since their last album, 2014’s The Moon Rang Like A Bell, just as they did after their debut, which means the once-quintet is now a trio. But, as many have stated before, three is a magic number, a tripod stands stronger than a four-pronged platform, and Hundred Waters have proven that on album number three, Communicating.
For most, Hundred Waters will be seen as Nicole Miglis’ band; her voice and emotions are the fulcrum of their sound, and after a star-making turn on this year’s Bonobo album, that is probably what will stand out to newcomers to the band on initial listens. While this might be diminutive, it is also the best access-point to Communicating.
Listening to Hundred Waters can feel like climbing into bed and pulling the duvet over you like a protective shield. The Los Angeles trio’s intimate, intricate music is perfect for when you’re longing for a safe, cozy refuge: It has the power to transport the listener to a hermetic space where there’s magic in the air and normal rules don’t apply. Nicole Miglis sings in a serene murmur, melodies twist and turn, and the lines blur between electronic and acoustic sounds.
When Hundred Waters began five years ago, the Florida band was quiet by design, operating on a small scale with hushed whispers as they crafted lovely, understated ballads. Taking elements of the choral acrobatics of Imogen Heap and the psychedelic electronica of bands like Braids, they were saddled with a tag of .
Let us be clear from the beginning: The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Hundred Waters’ 2014 sophomore LP and their first with Skrillex’s OWSLA label, was one of the best and most underappreciated gems of that year. While the Gainesville, Florida band’s 2012 debut was an intriguing if fussy thesis statement on folktronica, its follow-up viscerally, even harrowingly deepened their artistry. Songs like “Murmurs” and “Xtalk” delicately disassembled dance-pop conventions, warping them with spectral electronics, ambient passages, and Nicole Miglis’s hushed, forlorn vocals.