Mia Doi Todd

Mia Doi Todd

The Golden State

Columbia

Mia Doi Todd’s fourth release and major-label debut, The Golden State is a collection of new songs and previously released material, re-recorded and with new arrangements. The daughter of a Japanese-American judge and Irish-American sculptor, Ms. Todd lives a somewhat “media-secluded” life in California, (she doesn’t watch television, read much fiction, or listen to much music,) and her songs are stark black-and-white portraits, forcing the listener to pay attention closely or miss the depth and amazing detail of the shadows and light. Her music is organic in a way reminiscent of Michelle Shocked or Suzanne Vega; her pure voice is a satin ribbon, threading through each track and weaving one song into the next, creating a rich tapestry with the accompanying instruments.

My favorite track on The Golden State is “Growing Pains,” not for its tale of an illegitimate child, but for its deft way of bridging the concepts of pregnancy, New World colonization, Manifest Destiny, and spiritual growth. How’s that for high concept? And Ms. Todd makes it work. “Digital” is a quirky little number that blends poetry and science to chronicle the birth of life and Ms. Todd’s own conception. Again, who would have thought the two could be sung about in one song? Yet once listened to, the song makes complete sense. Perhaps the most straight-forward song on The Golden State is “Hijikata,” an ode to the founder of butoh dance, Hijikata Tatsumi, who actually died while dancing on his deathbed.

A solid major-label debut, a collection of past works, and an intriguing journey all-around, The Golden State is rich, subtle and rewarding.

Mia Doi Todd: http://www.miadoitodd.com

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