New Orleans based artist Miuna Mae (aka MowMowMow) doesn’t screw around when introducing Please Don’t Make Me Sleep Alone. ‘Your speakers are not broken, I just recorded the whole EP in 3 day while basically eating mic.’
It’s a fascinating experiment, and it’s impressive how coherent and cohesive the finished result is. Impressive, but in no way surprising. Mae has a proven track record of creating exciting, entrancing work. Her entire back catalogue is gold, with 2016’s Point Pleasant being one of the best albums of this decade.
Please…proves that she can’t help but produce brilliancy. We know about the mic already, but it’s important to note how the vocals and instrumentation were captured in one take. No lyrics were written down. But the resulting tracks aren’t pretentious, shambling garbage.
The spine of opener “Please” is a simple repeating piano line, around which distorted multi-tracks and chip tones coalesce. The track is discombobulating in a positive way. The mic is indeed being eaten, but “Please” sets a standard. It proves that the immediacy and raw honesty of Mae’s method won’t be frustrated by the production.
Vocally, “Make” sounds like it was recorded underwater. It’s also one of the more up tempo songs. What really struck me about it was how much it made me chuckle. Not because it’s intentionally humorous, but because of how bizarre the experience is. It’s laughter as a form of physical relief.
I felt somewhat intimidated by “Make,” but in a way I found agreeable. “Me” struck a similar chord. It’s the darkest and creepiest track on Please…, with tinny vocals and repeating synths which promote feelings of constriction.
I love every part of this EP, but the track I really want to discuss is “Sleep.” I can’t recall the last time I encountered a tune which so brutally expresses feelings of self-loathing..
Mae goes from softer mea culpas (’I fucked up/I’ll give you back your space/can’t give you back your time’) towards harsher self-dissections (‘I’m not the one/I wish that I could be everything you thought I was when we met.)
The avalanche builds. ‘I’m so tired of being horrid/of being stupid/of being boring’ smashes towards ‘I’m a liar/I’m a cheat/I’m a whore.’ The use of distorted vocals here is masterful. It gets harder and harder to make out what she’s singing. In this role, Mae is completely imploding. Being suffocated and crushed under the weight of her past actions and present failings.
I have to make this very clear to you: Please Don’t Make Me Sleep Alone is a masterpiece. It could’ve been a disaster or, at the very least, a mere curiosity. But it stands a monument to what can be achieved when improvisation meets genius.
You can find MowMowMow here: