Mamiffer – Hirror Enniffer

Hirror Enniffer

Being a one-man band myself, I’m always interested in the work of artists in the same situation. The music of these people is special because, if nothing else, it’s 100% them; their ideas, their production, and their skill at their instruments. Mamiffer is essentially an example of this, being the brainchild of Faith Coloccia, a Palm Springs native. Her first full length release, Hirror Enniffer, uses some other musicians, but they are only tools to recite a dream all her own.

On this LP, Mamiffer consists of drummer Chris Common (who also mixed the album) with some guest appearances from various people. It is assumed that Coloccia, being skilled in piano, accordion, guitar, glockenspiel, and other instruments, plays mostly everything else. Faith’s ideas have been described as “dark and moody…creating a beautiful vision.” As a sort of ominous post-rock meets Tori Amos disc (that’s completely instrumental), I agree. Hirror Enniffer is interesting, gorgeous, sad, dark, and, with a short running time, it warrants many, many listens.

“This Land,” like all the tracks, is piano driven. It builds great tension with its simplicity, sounding a bit like Agalloch if they favored the keys over guitars. It also features the same chord progression as Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” and its minor variations keep it engaging. “Death Shawl” is an attempt at conveying a lot of emotion with simple noises and sounds (again, like Agalloch or any Post-Rock artist). Honestly, it is a bit too much static and monotone to be completely effective but it is listenable, and its purpose is somewhat successful. “Annwn” begins optimistically but, with the inclusion of a distorted bass, becomes threatening and then sorrowful. The string accompaniment, though almost hidden, does add a classical appeal. Fans of Tori Amos will notice a similarity of style in the middle section, which enters into some surprisingly original and pleasant territory. It’s a great piano piece. There is an incoherent chant near the end that’s a nice touch. “Black Running Water” also has a nice atmosphere about it, with sounds accompanying the piano to enhance the feeling. The drums are also worth noting here, as they play simply but effectively with a especially nice echo. “Sucking A Dead Litter” isn’t as full or complicated as its predecessor, but it gives off a similar feeling. It combines actual music and emotional noise. Finally, “Cyhraeth” immediately sets itself apart by opening with an acoustic guitar. Coloccia sings individual notes, harmonizing with herself, over the electric guitar and piano. The album fades out with a sustained note.

Hirror Enniffer doesn’t have a lot of variation, and that may turn off some listeners. Each track has its own advantages and specifications, but the overall formula is essentially the same. However, this is somewhat expected with the genre so it works, but don’t expect to hear new tones and instruments as the album progresses.

Mamiffer has crafted a great debut. It’s nice to hear a piano featured over various guitars to convey the themes. Each performer plays just what they need to and there’s never a sense of limitation. They use their skills to create music that sounds very simple and easy to emulate but isn’t. It is the auditory equivalent of poetry: profound, universal statements phrased with the perfect combination of uniqueness and common musical choices.