Mi and L’au
The story of Mi and L’au reads like a fairy tale. Overwhelmed by their love for each other and music, French model Mi and Finnish music industry veteran L’au sequestered themselves in a cabin in Finland to record one of the most chillingly exquisite records of 2005. Produced by Swans’ Michael Gira and released on his Young God Records label — home to Devendra Banhart and other freaky folkies — the result is not as idiosyncratic as its associations suggest. The couple trade vocal duties — she with a soft but strong alto and he with a halting, vulnerable baritone. Ggently plucked guitars, mandolins and the occasional string section add lean flesh to sinewy songs that eschew the verse-chorus-bridge format in favor of more ancient poetic forms. If Lisa Germano and Sam Beam sneaked off to a Finnish forest to re-record the works of Nick Drake and Nico as 16th-century madrigals, they’d be lucky to achieve the same spare, haunting beauty. If the duo’s live performance is half as arresting as its album, mass swooning may ensue.