Wrap your head around the familiar and unfamiliar on mui zyu’s “pour a brain”
London-based musician Eva Liu is an experienced explorer of the unknown. Having grown up with dual Chinese and British identities, Liu is well-acquainted with navigating the shadowy spaces between cultures, as well as channeling her experiences into off-kilter pop with her band Dama Scout. On “pour a brain,” her first solo release under the moniker mui zyu (pronounced “moy joo”), Liu plumbs the depths of what is perhaps the most mysterious frontier: the mind.
“pour a brain” begins with a minimal beat and a fuzzed-out bass that flattens the soundscape with its insistent drone. There’s not much to orient the listener in this stark introduction before Liu’s voice enters–the first ray of light to penetrate the enigmatic fog. While the lyrics paint unconscious thoughts into such surreal images as “Hate hates for you to notice / Lick lips hopeless,” sweet vocal melodies guide the song toward more familiar musical territory. Dreamy keys and swooning strings add in to give the song a certain cinematic timelessness, and it’s clear that Liu has learned well from the lo-fi film scores she cites as inspiration (also reflected by the song’s black-and-white music video). At its climax, however, “pour a brain” retains a degree of its original inscrutability: the guitar solo ends on an unresolved note before Liu’s final refrain of “Pour a brain to save your mothering games / Make up on your ideal cure.” What does it all mean?
The listener can decide that for themselves, but perhaps finding an answer is less important than just simply appreciating how beautiful the unfamiliar can be.
“pour a brain” is out now via Father/Daughter Records.