mioriii – Nature’s Way

7.31.23 by Matty McPherson

Linger around bandcamp pages long enough and you’ll come to repeatedly see a peculiar supporter with an avatar akin to the Husker Dü logo. Except it has a fourth line intersecting & has been rotated 90 degrees to represent two Hs–for Hush Hush. KEXP DJ Alex Ruder has kept Hush Hush as a reserved tape outpost over the past several years, often times engaging with music far outside the continental scene and as such, importing in high quality foreign artists and sonics for domestic enjoyment. The kinds of releases that quickly appear and then disappear by the time the word’s run amok.

There’s a lovely new continuation of the ever-stable PJS aesthetic currently available from the label right now, but today’s attention is squarely around mioriii’s ambient downtempo pop EP debut, Nature’s Way, which literally came out 2 days ago and took up a sizable amount of Sunday and this morning. It a five songer, the kind that runs as a ~C36 with each 18 minute side repeating the tape in full. That’s a summer walk listen or porch coffee drinker if I ever knew one. I also should mention that it is not exactly mioriii’s debut per se–the Japanese musician’s 2018 Ms. Indie Pop EPs are hiding amongst the crevices of the internet (and yes, mioriii is a voracious pop obsessive). Although you can be certain that Nature’s Way is an assured introductory statement.

It would be easy to simply listen to the 18 minutes and pick up on a series of loosely connected sonic threads. Nature’s Way is not mixed to transition from track to track, and when an idea suffices it bows out. However, it was sequenced with a clear direction in mind; both the opening title track and Echoes feature faint vocals and restraint akin to Lucy Liyou’s most precious moments at the piano, and they recall the way Nyokabi Kariuki layered and mapped her tracks discussing long covid on Resonant Body. The affect is arguably purposeful, as Bandcamp liner notes do indicate mioriii recorded this music on the cusp of a surgery/recovery from a strange fatiguing ailment that she has been working through over the past few years. Multiple listens, routinized and thought over, reward Nature’s Way’s slight palette that digs deep into what it wants to convey.

Specifically the middle 3 cuts where mioriii starts to twist up shapes of typical synth ambience, hitting the ear favorably. Her bookend cuts feature more “piano key” textures and vocal poems that provide a window to her world, but in the middle we find the dreams and desires. Those middle cuts are grounded by their fleet, effervescent flourishing textures, and they reach for actual pop heights as soon as they take a brief deviation from that path. “Annual Rings” incorporates slinky noises and minimal pulsing beats; the kinds that keep looking forward admits the synth noise’s catatonic wailing. “Mossy” starts from 1000 yards staring above the ground in the skies, with expansive synth patches akin to Drowse at his most uplifting or the urban twilight night-watching found on Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist’s Floating Tone; it then adds a cello and rain sounds, immediately finding an introspective somberness that with a minimal beat can saunter the hours away, the clear highlight of these 18 minutes. Finally, “Under the Sun”, the most outright ambient pop cut, limits its movement and twists simply to enjoy a moment in the Sun. As I’m uploading this, it’s a strangely grey, almost thickly humid morning to cap off July. But maybe this will bring out the sun for the park by late afternoon.

Limited Edition Cassette EP now available at Hush Hush Records’ Bandcamp!