When the Brooklyn-based folk band Ida decided to take a temporary break from their heavy touring schedule back in the fall of 2000, something surprising happened: The vocalist and the lead guitar player got married. Their coupling soon led to a pregnancy, and then a move to Rhode Island, where Daniel Littleton and Elizabeth Mitchell conceived again. The progeny this time around was a haunting chamber-pop band called Nanang Tatang -- Filipino for "mother, father."
Littleton and Mitchell, in fact, are well known for their many side-projects: Littleton has played with former Tsunami leader Jenny Toomey, and Mitchell once had an acoustic partnership with Lisa Loeb. But as a joint venture formed out of marriage, and of course, intimacy, the music on Muki is something that few other love songs can be: satisfied. Not to mention confident, fulfilled and contented.
Many critics, and even fans, will call Muki nothing more than the new Ida record with two missing members. But with an electronic drum kit filling in the empty spaces and St. Germain-style electronic musings, the ambience somehow becomes even sparser, and the sentiments sadder.
But not to worry: The slow-motion arrangements, and, more importantly, Mitchell's despondent vocals still fill nearly every crack and crevice on Muki. It's the perfect marriage, you might say, of electro knob-fiddling and folkish sensitivity, all wrapped up in classic Ida style.