LOUIZA is the indie-pop / art-rock experiment of San Francisco-born artist Rebecca Mimiaga, whose penchant for sweet yet strange melodies yields bright, heady and immovable pop hooks. Mimiaga’s expertise ranges from opera and jazz to classical, as well as musical theatre, having studied at both Skidmore College and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Her forthcoming record, Swim At Night, was recorded with producer James Riotto (The Mountain Goats, tUnE-yArDs, Ezra Furman) at John Vanderslice’s all-analog facility Tiny Telephone in Oakland.
Swim At Night eschews archaic pop structures as well as Mimiaga’s finely honed vocal technique (developed through years of formal training), opting instead for spontaneity and gut instinct. To achieve this, Mimiaga took up dance to inform her exuberant new method of songwriting. “Dancing has helped my singing tremendously,” she says. “It brings me into the music more deeply. I’ve become more playful and expansive in the way I listen, create melodies and structure songs. I feel more open, less careful and better able to express the core feeling of the song.”
The genre-fluid Swim At Night enchants, pushing beyond theory and into the arms of pure, unadulterated expression. Mimiaga compares the moon to her aspirations, summing up the essence of the title track: "Beautiful, bright, out of reach and pulling out the restless parts of me—the way the moon pulls the tide." Mimiaga sees water as both a means of therapy and as a symbol of her restlessness, something that feeds expression and allows her to move through life’s transitions more deeply.
On standout tracks like “Brilhante,” the album also excels at critiquing social media and modern internet culture, using hyperbole to skewer the absurd online bravado of celebrities. “Alone” explores the deep value of solitude amidst the white noise of the modern world.
Blending art rock, folk, jazz and electropop, Swim At Night soundtracks Mimiaga’s thought experiments, employing dreamy textures and stream-of-consciousness lyrics, imagining the future as though it were a lucid dream. Nimble synths, shimmering organ, soulful horns, and guitars breezy and occasionally bristling pervade the record, underscoring Mimiaga’s ability to playfully transcend both the complexities and indoctrination of adulthood. Closing track “Hold Me Down” brings the record home, translating Mimiaga’s high-spirited array of frenetic pop melodies into a loose, minimal arrangement that draws you in with the soft glow of its creeping tempo, and heartfelt nods to the influence of raga, particularly North Indian classical music.
"I wanted to write a song about seduction and true seduction brings you to the moment. Musically, I've felt the interplay between space, melody and the drone of certain ragas has that ability: to pull you in and give you a sense of peace in it."