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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.