Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Friendly Fire
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Twenty-three-year-old, Ethiopian-born Mirel Wagner plays grim and creepy acoustic ballads about necrophilia, love, loss and bike riding. With a voice like Martina Topley Bird doing Leonard Cohen, Wagner seduces with a ghostly, whispered-in-your-ear intimacy on these sparse and haunting folk songs. At once stoic and graceful, her brief debut is as chilling as it is hypnotic, her lonely, minimalist guitar reeling you in as her hushed, unflinching vocals sing of all the things you’d rather not know.
On the cover of her self-titled debut, Mirel Wagner's face rises out of the gloom, her features emerging from-- or perhaps retreating into-- the pitch background, one eye leveling its gaze at you. It's a haunting image, and one that fits her music perfectly. The Ethiopian-Finnish singer-songwriter plays stark doom-folk in permanent flux between light and dark, life and death, and concerns of the soul and desires of the flesh.
Despite being just 23 and having written her first songs at 16, Mirel Wagner sounds like what you’d call an old soul. You can hear that in the knowing quality of spare folk tunes that find shades within nuances using only the most rudimentary instruments, the tale told by the nooks and crannies of Wagner’s ancient voice and the resonant tones of her picked notes and strummed chords. And yet, no matter how intimate and elemental Wagner’s approach might be, the Ethiopian-born, Finnish-reared singer-songwriter’s songs are greater than the sum of their parts and what they’re literally about, as she tackles the big-ticket issues of love, life, and death on her self-titled debut.
Beauty is a strange phenomenon; while some things are almost universally beautiful -- natural wonders, classic works of art, baby animals -- the things that push the boundaries of conventional beauty and challenge our perceptions of what is beautiful often leave the strongest impression. Speaking just of music, artists from Billie Holiday to Nick Drake to Joy Division found beauty in the depths of the melancholy and morose, and with the introduction of gothic indie folkster Mirel Wagner, this tradition is refreshed for a new generation. In an album that belies her 23 years of age, the Ethiopian-born, Finland-raised artist introduces herself with a sort of grown-up fairy tale narrator persona, spinning stories of love, death, and the devil, laid bare emotionally as well as lyrically and musically.
Mirel Wagner, in her self-titled debut album, takes a minimalist approach to her music to create consistently captivating, haunting tracks. Wagner does not need complicated background melodies to make beautiful music; her strong, slightly husky voice and an acoustic guitar are enough. The simplicity in the sound allows the blues-folk singer’s writing ability to stand out, as she weaves dark, heart-wrenching stories into each song.
THEESatisfaction Seattle has become a bastion of oddball hip-hop thanks to Shabazz Palaces and its sometime collaborator, THEESatisfaction: the duo of Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White. They rap, sing and produce their own tracks on “Awe Naturale” (Sub Pop), which follows material they ….