There are always two extremes on a continuum: gentle and strong, soft and loud, rolling and rocking. The extremes are often what we are interested in because we have names for them. Knowing what to call the grey messy area between the endpoints is difficult. Uncertainty is difficult, sometimes discomfiting, as we are left guessing to what we’re witnessing, unable to name or understand, only blindly absorbing, wondering what it is we don’t get.
Miwa Gemini never puts her listeners in this uneasy position. The majority of her album, This Is How I Found You, sets the tone at the start of each track and lets the laser amble on over the polycarbonate melodies, never jerking into a mood swing. She lets things roll, starting at one extreme and ending at the same, absorbing all the soft, all the loud, the blues, the jazz.
Most people aren’t so quick to exclude the middle though. The grey can’t be cut out to turn the world into a simplicity, a black and white pencil drawing, an unfunny cartoon. Miwa feels the same way, it seems, but knows that being shoved into the avant-garde, the grey, formless, unfamiliar, invisible opacity set before the mind’s eye and unable wrap itself round it all…it comes off almost hostile.
Miwa Gemini leads her listener through the grey when she has to. Her skill lies in her deftness, the swiftness of the walk-through, as if between the two extremes lay only a step. This is seen best in “Angel’s Prayer,” where the track begins soft, almost timid, but then screams to heights of anger and frustration, wailing over her own ineptitude. The drums in the background hold a steady rhythm from the start, but brood into the build while spanning over all the discomfitures and various states of grey matter between shyness and frustration, awkward and screaming, while still coming to know the autistic in between.
If it wasn’t for her voice though, her well-formed voice that forms itself to the different cries and voices it must assume, it might not be possible. Her voice can waver into a wail and peter into ironic distance like that of a showgirl’s, all the while maintaining the integrity of a strong woman with a set of lungs to articulate her wide range of feelings, a throat and mouth to articulate herself from the rest, make her stand out.