Mishigami – Artist Feature – Miles Coleman
Miles Coleman, aka Mishigami, granted a slice of his time to discuss with me his musical identity, craft, and hope for Grand Rapid’s music community. He classifies his music as a mosaic of jazz, hip hop, and other “organic” sound layerings (Coleman is humble in attaching specific genre terminology because he believes it needs to be authentic as opposed to forcing sound development). Labels that are commonly thrown around and do not always shine past the deeper meaning of, e.g. “EDM” do not exemplify Mishigami; Coleman is very specific in cultivating a sacred-like organic process to construct his songs without genres that build or direct his sound.
The walls of Neighbor Gallery are blank slates and the sun is shining bright through the dimmed blinds. The selfless but inspiring blank walls of the Neighbor Gallery (42 S. Division) granted us a private and a peaceful step away from chaotic noise of the city. Coleman said that he “chose “Mishigami”,” which in Ojibwe language means Lake Michigan, “because of his ties to the fresh water lake and natural life of northern Michigan.” Coleman’s connection to the Ojibwe resonate with his deep respect for the natural land and the history of people who have lived here before us. He has spent innumerable time outdoors in northern Michigan that allowed him to connect a deep appreciation for the untampered beauty the land in that the area offers. The significance of Mishigami connects him to where he comes from, the awe-inspiring land that he has called home his whole life, and that later in life he will have a connection to remind him of this.
Coleman participated in Avenue of the Arts’ monthly First Fridays, a community event in December 2015. He performed his latest release ‘Tape C’ in collaboration with two visual artists to showcase his latest EP. The event theme was “Lines of Communication” and was curated by Kate Lewis, of Kate Lewis Ceramics.
If you are someone who is not fluent in the various types of music within the electronic music genre, Mishigami is a great place to begin. It is apparent that Mishigami utilizes a skilled ability to track his electronic components with classic elements of various instruments, such as the piano. Mishigami is a pure example of what I have hoped to be able to find coming to music that can be appreciated by all types of people: classical music that has roots in American history combined with the capability that modern technology enables.
Coleman’s music emanates a mix of electronic components with instrumentals rooted in music theory. This is the time of the rise of the band geek. What makes Mishigami highly innovative fundamentally is his connection to his environment. Coleman records sounds from his daily life experiences and will use this as sample in a song. Tape C has tracks that are exciting and each with its own type of identity. It is noteworthy that his songs allude to feelings of nostalgic walks outdoors. I picture myself looking up into a deeply forested driveway to see an overcast sky bright with light rain misting down on my face.
Electronic music has been developing its own reputation in contemporary and popular music. Yet, it is a breed of its own and requires respect that knowledge of music theory takes serious dedication and commitment of careful cultivation to master. It is evident that Mishigami is one of the first who is able to connect his own identity authentically with the music he produces.
The intro to his EP “Tape C” has hints of hip hop-based tempo.
Staff favorite from Tape C:
Which can be found here: Mishigami Tape C via Young Heavy Souls