Album Review

mui zyu - nothing or something to die for

Both intimate and personal, yet fundamentally universal.

mui zyu - nothing or something to die for

On this second solo outing, mui zyu – aka Eva Liu – ostensibly sets out to capture the dizzying multiplicity of modern existence. Where her debut, ‘Rotten Bun For An Eggless Century’, delved into the intricacies of her Hong Kong-British identity and cultural heritage, here she turns her gaze outward, considering humans’ heartening but ultimately unending quest for peace and purpose in the face of simultaneous over-stimulation and stifling nihilism. No mean feat, then. In practice, these lofty ambitions translate into an album of contrasts: on the suitably tone-setting opener ‘satan marriage’, the warmth of swelling strings gives way to drum machine beats, pre-empting the sci-fi sonics of follow-up ‘the mould’; with ‘in the dot (feat. Pickle Darling)’, the vocals’ digital manipulation lends a sense of the dystopic, while the mid-record run of ‘speak up, sponge’, ‘what’s the password baby bird’, and ‘hopefulness, hopefulness’ are all imbued with organic orchestral flourishes. It’s a distinctly eclectic affair – the product of a Devonshire writing retreat on which Liu evidently experimented with new equipment and ideas – but there’s nevertheless a cohesion that prevents her often touching lyrical subtlety from becoming overwhelmed by uncanny instrumentation. And it’s the gentle push and pull between these two facets that colour the album as somehow both intimate and personal, yet fundamentally universal. Liu’s vocals are ethereal, but are also employed with considered intention, their sometime absence leaving space for the listener to fill in the gaps with their own subconscious. Like seeing photos of the Earth from space, or reading about fossils from aeons past, ‘nothing or something to die for’ inspires a strange sense of comfort – given the overwhelming expanse of it all, even small moments of human connection are not futile, but remarkable.

Tags: mui zyu, Reviews, Album Reviews

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