Singer-songwriter Mira Black is more than happy to offer a take on her sonic signature: ‘Imagine Massive attack fronted by Barbra Streisand, with Joni Mitchell writing the lyrics,’ she says. ‘Then take those three to Cirque Du Soleil.’
Produced by Vince Lawrence, the iconic founder of Chicago House music, Black’s stripped down, ambient electronica is a mesh of subtle beats, a dash of jazz and heart-string-tugging vocals. Lawrence has shaped a sound that is understated and immersive, a sound that cuts through life’s white noise, a sound where the computer-based brush strokes enhance rather than overwhelm Black’s story-telling.
I Remember Love is the perfect introduction to Black’s sparse yet lyrical tales of love, the stop-start beats allowing her emotional honesty rise to the fore. When it comes to talking about love in all its good, bad and ugly guises, Blackdoesn’t pull her punches. ‘My formula for writing?’ she says with a smile, ‘Fall madly in love and get your heart pulled out through your nose.’
Electronica is a new direction for Black. In the early 1990s, she toured with popular Canadian folk act Acoustically Inclined. The group started as an instrumental ensemble, until members heard Black in the audience spontaneously singing aloud to their melodies. They invited her onstage—and eventually to become the group’s vocalist. In 2008, Black released the solo jazz-infused “Live At The Moment” and jazz remains an important form of expression for the singer.
Indeed, influences from Black’s former musical lives peep through on her new album MIRA, due for release on Lawrence’s Slang Recordings in early 2012, thanks to producer Lawrence’s inclusion of organic instrumentation including cello, piano, sitar and tabla drums, alongside the synthesizers and electronic pulses.
Drawing on her eclectic background – an East Indian father, Scottish mother and itinerant childhood in India, Canada, the West Indies and America – Black focuses on the emotion that makes us feel lost, found, powerful and helpless: love. This universal theme spoken about in Black’s raw, moving poetry and backed by haunting arrangements will touch your core. Let it.