Cosmic Ocean Ship, produced and recorded to tape by Jonathan Wilson, was chosen by Ben Ratliff of the New York Times as one of the top ten records of 2011. It’s the crystallization of Mia’s mature work and a kind of manifesto for a worldview full of beauty, romance, deep emotion and exploration. The album was recorded and mixed over four days with a small trio playing live together—Mia on nylon guitar, Andres Renteria on percussion, Gabe Noel on bass—with magical additions on electric guitar, piano, and drums by Jonathan Wilson.
Review by Thom Jurek:
Cosmic Ocean Ship, Mia Doi Todd's ninth album, is an aural travelogue that reflects her inner and geographical journeys, evoking the spirit of summertime no matter what musical atmosphere she employs in order to do so. The set contains eight originals and a pair of expertly chosen covers that touch on love, its loss, renewal, leavings, and arrivals; it was released on Todd's City Zen imprint, and produced by multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilson, with a small group of players. Todd uses her voice, guitars, ukulele, and percussion to explore Latin, Brazilian, and her own Los Angeles brand of alt-folk. The Brazilian influence makes itself felt on album opener "Paraty," named for the old colonial port town three hours south of Rio. Todd's nylon-string guitar, Gabe Noel's bass, and Andres Renteria's hand percussion introduce this gorgeous bossa that transforms itself seamlessly into a jazzy samba after the first two verses when Wilson's electric guitar and drum kit are layered into the mix. The lithe Latin rhythms of "Under the Sun" are countered by Todd's open, folksy vocal, which suggests Sandy Denny in her phrasing. "Summer Lover," in waltz time, is reminiscent of the Laurel Canyon sound of the early '70s, and in the piano, guitars, bass lines, and shimmering drums, one can hear the trace of a Joni Mitchell arrangement. She does a provocative reading of Baden Powell's classic "Canto de Iemanjá" that breaks open into a psychedelic samba. The set closes with Violeta Parra's "Gracias a la Vida," a sparse, haunting number, accompanied by ukulele and percussion accentuating Todd's mournful, moving vocal. Cosmic Ocean Ship is Todd's most "exotic" recording, but it's easily one of her most ambitious, focused, and satisfying as well.
Mia Doi Todd is a prolific singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, known for her unique voice and emotional songwriting. Her
album, “Cosmic Ocean Ship,” was chosen by the New York Times as one of the top ten records of 2011. Her new album, due out in early 2021, focuses on motherhood and the life of the artist. Mia helped to start the music venue Zebulon in the LA neighborhood where she grew up....more
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This is a gorgeous amalgamation of many styles, world, jazz, minimal and neo-classical. Strings, harp, flugelhorn, as well as piano, synth, drums, and double bass bring the sublimely warm vocals of the composer of these pieces a place to fit snugly into. Dreamy and tranquil are two words that come to mind for the majority of the presentation here. Nickie Harte Kelly