Mirah and Spectratone International Share This Place

Never predictable and always impressive, Mirah’s collaboration with Spectratone International sounds little like any of her previous albums. It’s a closer companion to her work with the Black Cat Orchestra, with its ethnic folk explorations and collaborative arrangements, but Share This Place is an enchantingly original piece. Essentially this is part poetic biology lesson set to music and part philosophical juxtaposition of human and insect social structures. In opening track "Community,” Mirah compares the strength in numbers of the insect community to isolated city life before discussing communication through pheromones, with a rarely repeating plucked cello the only vocal accompaniment. Elsewhere, Mirah’s gorgeous vocal melodies and detailed storytelling are backed by accordion, oud, various percussion, occasional bass and more of Lori Goldston’s inventive cello phrasing. Spectratone and Mirah flirt with the conventions of many traditional music forms but invest the songs with an exhilarating sense of freedom to traverse any melodic avenue the muse brings, injecting many contemporary chord changes into the melting pot of influences. "Song of Psyche” takes unexpectedly dark turns, while "My Lord Who Hums” marries indie rock stomp to Greek traditionalism. The music is so playful and well composed, the lyrics so well thought out and the whole project executed with such professionalism that one could consider it a complete lesson in music, science and poetry, one worthy of equally prominent placement in school curricula and on any music lover’s shelf. (K)