MIRAH | Tomberlin
October 24 @ 8:30 pm - 11:59 pmGet Tickets - $12 - $14 »
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Understanding, Mirah’s 6th full length solo record, is a conscientious return to her early unconventional recording process — an embrace of spirited imperfection and rawness inclusive of rough first takes, natural room sounds, and a fair amount of broken equipment. Bathed in the sparkles of disco ball light, Mirah recorded demos with vocals, guitar, organ, and percussion in a former army barracks gymnasium at The Headlands Center for the Arts, where she spent four weeks as an artist in residence.
Once home in Brooklyn, Mirah teamed up with her frequent co-producer Eli Crews (tUnE-yArDs, The Julie Ruin, Son Lux) and invited Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier to join them in the studio. The collaboration sparked new textures and ideas. Building on top of Mirah’s vibrant original tracks, they used midi to transform a marimba into a distorted farfisa melody, drastically lowered the pitch of vocals until they morphed into sub-bass lines, and added layers of distinct timbres from Crews’ extensive vintage synth collection, a mellotron, and an 80’s era Soviet drum machine.
Written and recorded in a time of political and personal upheaval — family illness and the death of a dear friend, all in the shadow of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath — Understanding presents an even hand of political themes, love songs and introspective rallying cries. As Mirah explains, “We all have needs and we all have dreams. We want so much to feel love and to give to each other, to ourselves, to the world. But how does this fit in with the constant barrage of information and distraction, of truths and lies? How do we move through this rapidly fluctuating reality with a sense of resilience and empowerment?” One of the best lyricists of our indie rock generation, Mirah uses her sharp intellect, empathy, and a measure of levity to shine a light on the world around us and the ways of our own hearts, showing us that understanding is what we all need a little more of.
Understanding [KLP268] is Mirah’s third release through her Absolute Magnitude Recordings.
On her deeply moving debut album At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, and now based in Louisville, Kentucky, Tomberlin wrote most of At Weddings while living with her family in southern Illinois during her late teens and early twenties. The daughter of a Baptist pastor, Tomberlin found herself questioning not only her faith, but her identity, her purpose, and her place in the world. In songwriting, she found relief and lucidity she had trouble articulating otherwise. When she was 19, she wrote “Tornado” on her parents’ piano, and began to gain confidence in her music. A year later, Tomberlin had enough songs to fill an album. Throughout At Weddings, Tomberlin’s lyrics yearn for stability and belonging, a near-universal desire among young people learning to define themselves on their own terms for the first time. The songwriter cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as her greatest musical influence, and while At Weddings in many ways documents the unlearning of her childhood faith, it’s easy to hear the devotional quality of sacred music in her songs. The album is laden with reverence for music itself, for the power it has to heal and help people navigate their lives. It is a record about learning to love oneself and others without reservation, from a place of deep sincerity —a lifelong challenge whose tribulations Tomberlin articulates beautifully. “My number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist,” she says. With At Weddings, this remarkable young songwriter offers up comfort and wonder in equal measure.