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 lessons to inform her exuberant new method of songwriting. “Taking dance has helped my singing tremendously,” she says. “Since my purpose of writing constantly changes, I want to be a lot more playful and expansive in the way I view a song’s structure. I feel more open and able to be a little less careful, prioritizing feeling above all else. Dancing helps put the music into your body so much more than studied musical technique.”
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 as an adult, summing up the essence of the title track: "Beautiful, bright, out of reach and pulling out the darker parts of me, while constantly stirring emotions—the way the moon pulls the tide." Mimiaga turns to water as a means of therapy, and often refers to it as a "liminal space" that enables her to cope with anxiety and undergo life's transitions, freely. 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, while “Talk to Me” pines for reckless zeal and wrestles with the loss of youth. “I’m at a point where I wanna buy a house and start a family, and that’s a very different place than I’m used to,” Mimiaga says. “'Talk to Me’ is about wanting to hold on to spontaneity and abandon, even though you’re heading into a more serious and stable chapter of your life.”
Blending art rock, folk, jazz and electropop, Swim At Night soundtracks Mimiaga’s thought experiments, employing dreamy textures and stream-of-consciousness lyrics, planning a 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, the melody and drone of certain ragas has that ability to pull you in and give you a sense of peace in it."