Mujaji - In Between Clouds
Mujaji are a two piece electronic band of brothers Seth and Jed who seem to have lived all over the world but are now based in upstate New York, where they write and record chilled acoustic electro pop in a trailer in a field, apparently.
In Between Clouds is a sweet conundrum of an album, it's like looking at one of those magic eye pictures that were really popular in the 90s. You stare and stare trying to make out a picture from all the dots and rubbish. Then eventually just as you are about to give up you glance away, glance back, and suddenly there is something beautiful there for you to behold.
The production and soundscapes created by Mujaji are generally soothing and peaceful, like a big feather duvet on a cold stormy night. Acoustic guitars are used liberally, hinting at the song writing process starting out simply as a man and a guitar, they sound light and airy just as they should and complement the synth sounds nicely. However, just as you are getting settled, the brothers throw in a track like Butterfly and we have cheesy blips, random violins and some awful granny hoovering her front room (sorry, I mean bass noises). Then next up comes Cellphone, and some random 'inspired' lyrics about sniffing cocaine off breasts and seeing aliens all night in the sky, all because his mobile phone got rained on?!
The longer you listen to In Between Clouds, the more you feel your consciousness slipping out of your brain via your ears and forming a big puddle on the floor. I'm inclined to think it's because the good tracks are all at the start of the album and I have yet to experiment playing it backwards to see if it has the same effect. Track 9 (To Stone) is reminiscent of a tribal chant. But instead of a tribe of angry natives, it's a tribe of washed out software developers bemoaning the loss of their coffee making privileges: monotonous, droning and seemingly endless. Just as you think things are getting better as the neat slinky drums of the next intro kick in it all goes wrong again...
The main problem with Mujaji is the vocals. In places the music is inspired (although in other places it does seem they are trying a bit hard), however you cannot get away from the voice. It's like all the most boring people you have ever known fused into one, tuneless, soulless drone. The first five or so songs it was fine, you could compare the style to Moby or the singer from Death Cab For Cutie, but eventually you just can't take much more of it. This could move you to tears, but for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately the crime is not over there, the title track of the album features the enchanting and haunting vocals of Maria Solheim. Why oh why did she only feature on one track? If Mujaji replaced the vocals on 6 or 7 of their other songs with Maria this album would be completely different and something really worth buying. Otherwise I'd just suggest downloading the first half and leaving the rest, for your own good.