some love for "hush"

Review of show at Drake Underground

Montreal’s Jenn Mierau began the second set of the night with a haunting song using just keyboard and voice. Vocally, she sounds rich and emotive, but the first song was actually not a good indication of what you are in for later: she brings in Wurlitzer, a sampler and loop pedals to make percussive beats and swirls of sound to accent her piano-based singer-songwriter melodies. Her most recent album’s title track, “Hush”, began with layers of vocal noises to create the percussion – the total effect sounds something like beat boxing, but she builds it layer by layer right in front of your eyes.

She moved on to covers for the middle of her set, giving renditions of The Cure’s “Lovesong” and Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel” (the latter, of course, to celebrate the namesake of the Elvis Mondays showcase). Her covers sound strikingly different from the originals due to her inventive instrumentation and arrangements. Mierau is stunningly creative and not just musically either: her set is accompanied by live visuals and the album art is a recreation of a giant rug-hooked self-portrait.

-written by Elena Gritzan for Grayowl Point (July 31, 2012)

KEEP PUSHING FORWARD: Two Winnipeg artists - one current, one former - are doing exciting things with electronic music

Fellow electronic pop artist and Winnipeg expat Jenn Mierau is also a fearless experimentalist. The current Montreal resident composed and recorded her latest album, Hush, completely on her own. A lush tapestry woven from beats, loops, samples, a vintage Wurlitzer organ and Mierau’s indelible voice, Hush stays true to its creator’s roots...

...The added multi-media projects aren’t off brand for an artist who likes to play with layers and techniques; in fact, rug-hooking an album cover directly reflects her musical process. "You know, I’ve never thought of it before, but you’re totally right," she says. There’s that laugh again. (excerpt from feature article)

-written by Jen Zoratti for Uptown Magazine (Aug. 16, 2012)

'A moment of sheer and utter insanity’ :  Singer-songwriter Jenn Mierau talks about the DIY process behind her album, Hush

Talk about doing it yourself. For her latest album, Hush, Winnipeg expat and current Montreal resident Jenn Mierau not only wrote and recorded all the music herself, she also created the album artwork by rug-hooking a 14,400-stitch self-portrait...

...The musician laughs about it now, especially since the hard work paid off. It’s a great looking cover and you can witness its creation on YouTube via a stop-motion video Mierau made during the rug-hooking process.

But beyond the homemade cover art, Hush contains some great, dark pop songs with Mierau’s alluring voice singing over programmed beats and the warmth of a vintage Wurlitzer electronic organ... (excerpt from feature article)

-written by Aaron Epp (Aug. 16, 2012)

Montreal Mirror... On the downlow - Jenn Mierau stitches the sound and portraiture on her eerie, intimate EP, Hush

DIY DAME: Jenn Mierau
Making music can be a disarming, deeply personal experience: opening yourself up, laying it all out in a studio, letting it go and getting it out to strangers who may well tear your heartfelt work to shreds. This process is all the more personal when you do just about all the work yourself, from beatmaking, playing bass, guitar, keys and singing, and bringing it all together harmoniously as a producer. This is what Montreal artist Jenn Mierau has done. But Mierau takes the DIY ethic to greater proportions, or rather to about two feet by two feet. “This was a brilliant idea,” Mierau recalls thinking as she worked away. “I feel I’m a little crazy!” She refers to her 14,400-stitch rug-hooked self-portrait she made for the cover of her EP. She confesses it took her longer than it should have, because she took pictures of it at every significant stage to make a time-lapse video.

Hush is altogether dark yet light, eerie yet intimate, quiet yet very danceable. Mierau’s mix of trip hop and electro pop, layered vocals and techno touches combines with a soft backdrop of head-bobbing beats. Adding to Mierau’s sound is her take on the Cure’s “Lovesong,” from their album Disintegration. “It was the first cover I ever did, and I pushed myself not to make it at all like the orig­inal.” This Winnipeg native cut her teeth in Toronto, but built up her production skills and solo work in Montreal...

-written by Lateef Martin (Sep. 8, 2011)

One Thirty BPM... MP3: Jenn Mierau - "Hush"

You have to hand it to any artist who can piece together an entire album on their own, and Jenn Mierau does just that and more on her forthcoming album, Hush. Along with the instrumental arrangements and recording done solo, Mierau’s powerful vocals make her an undeniable force. The album’s title track is the perfect example, blending her shadowy vocals amongst the various drum loops and bass lines. Part frantic electro backing, part powerful vocal exposition, “Hush” is worth checking out if you’re new to Mierau’s work. Look for Hush September 13th via Galactique Recordings.

-written by Erik Burg (Aug. 4, 2011)

Cover Me... Jenn Mierau Drops a Rich, Chill "Lovesong" Cover

It’s hard to predict what tracks are going to become cover classics, but once one establishes itself, it rarely fades away. What’s more, once a song becomes as oft-covered as The Cure’s “Lovesong,” each new cover must reach an ever-higher bar. It might be another Adele, it might be another 311, or it might be something else entirely.

Luckily, Jenn Mierau’s latest cover is neither derivative of the original, nor a ripoff of the other established covers. The multi-talented Montreal native kicks the track off with a heavy electronic beat and some spooky piano before her mellow, sultry voice whispers into the mix. The cover would be nice enough if Mierau was simply a singer tackling an arrangement someone laid out for her. The fact that she wears the producer hat with as much talent as the vocalist/pianist hat takes it to an entirely new level. This is one for the headphones, because you do not want to miss a thing on this track. Enjoy.

-written by Brent Rydin (Aug. 4, 2011)

The Blue Indian... jenn mierau's "hush"
Rating: 8.0/10

Dark and extremely sensual, jenn mierau’s hush (yup, all lower case) is an album that pulses with deep synths and trip hop beats. What is striking about hush is that it manages to deliver several catchy tunes composed of strange chord progressions and borderline atonal loops. Even more striking is that mierau self-produced the entire album. And by the end, you feel that unity, that togetherness that can only suggest one person had a say in its creation.

The whole thing kicks off with “lovesong.” That mierau chose to open her record with a cover (The Cure) is simultaneously gutsy and alluring. It is a completely reworked song with a slow groove and a peculiar piano loop. It’s enough of a departure from the original to make the song seem fresh and bold. Following it is “hush,” a song that swirls in the burgundy wash of electric piano and creeping bass. The song is lush with a richness like wine and is already receiving some buzz around the Internet. It encapsulates mierau’s murky style perfectly and is a cornerstone of the album.

“hushabye” takes the ideas set forth in “hush” and magnifies them immensely, re-imagining the piece as a lullabye. Mierau sings directly in your ear while strings bend and detune underneath. With each whisper of “hush,” the word begins to morph and sound strange. In my mind, it conjures several forms: hush, thrush, blush, lush, crush. The song is an exercise in the bizarre nature of words as well as the percussive quality of the human breath. “Hush” is just a noise we utter to communicate meaning and feeling, and mierau takes this idea to the extreme. The song is relaxing, sensual, and uneasy all at the same time.

Mierau furthers these organic qualities on her record with “shine,” a gorgeous piece rife with thick Wurlitzer and gothic strings. It is a nice complement to the electro touches in the previous tracks and showcases mierau’s vocals stripped free of any sort of mainstream pop ham. It also highlights her ability as a songwriter and serves as a defining moment on the album. “a little blue” is without a doubt the low point of the album. Mierau delves into that pop ham I mentioned before. It’s the antithesis of “hush” in that it is poppy enough to be radio friendly but without the dark richness that permeates the rest of the album. Regardless, mierau’s other tracks are stellar enough to make up for it.

Closing the album are the “other version” songs. “lovesong (the other version)” sounds too much like the opening track to be given its own spot on the album, but “hush (the other version)” is a magnificent rewriting of the original with a static sounding avant-garde loop that would make Bjork proud. The vocals take a back seat for most of the song while distant, distorted drums pound thunderously and noise fills the ears. At the end, the sound dies away and we are left with the instrument that is the most alluring on all of hush: mierau’s voice. Smoky as always, it ends a tasteful and experimental pop album that ranks comfortably among the likes of Robyn and Lykke Li. As an artist, jenn mierau could usher in a new era of well-produced, well-written gothic synth pop, something that could take the sting out of formulaic glam pop. Mierau is skillfully able to pair her sensual vocals with dissonant piano chords and create a sound all her own. Congratulations, jenn.

-written by Grafton Tanner (Aug. 11, 2011)

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