Tag Archives: Melbourne

The Third Time Is Ngaiire’s Charm

We have gotten to the third album released from Ngaiire which is aptly named ‘3’. The type of sounds we are accustomed to from her debut Lamentations from 2013 and The Blastoma in 2016 comes out in her latest album. I noticed that the piano plays a key part in the production in some of the songs presented. As you can hear in some of the tracks, a lot more technical production is being woven into the track, producing a future soul kind of sound. 

Photo by Daniel Segal

I am full to the brim of stories that many don’t have the privilege to hold within themselves; some I know quite well and some live deep in my DNA that I won’t have enough lifetimes to unpack. But the ones I know, I will tell how I want to because I can. So here is a collection of love letters to 3 entities – myself, my country and those I love both here and now departed.

Ngaiire on the album ‘3’

The third track Showstring is a perfect example of the sound I hear from Ngaiire, both from her voice and the production. The fast paced production combined with that piano playing in the background is evident. Her vocals are strong and using her harmonized voice in the background just lifts her up during the various parts of the song. Something about combining that pop theme that just puts a smile on your face

Closer is a peach of a track and my favorite on the album. It feels soft to the ears, however, that underlying baseline really gets your body moving. Ngaiire’s strong voice comes out again in this song. So clear and crisp for long runs that it really touches your soul. That message of ‘not coming closer unless you love me’ is a powerful one. Another line that I liked from her was “love is like a mountain, take me to the peak”. How I saw it was love was hard work and you have to stay committed to reach the highest of highs. At least in the context of this song. A beautiful music video was made for this song. The choreography and costumes were spot on. I wish it didn’t have to end, but I will say the love story was cute how it was portrayed on screen.

Moonshine has a more pop sound to go along with the nice beat in the background. Ngaiire is using Moonshine for two meanings, the drink, and the actual moonshine in the track. I thought that was a nice way to incorporate the title in her lyrics. I mentioned earlier in the post that she has this particular sound that involves the piano in a lot of her tracks, but you do have tracks like this where she leans into the modern and future sounds. And she still has that calming soulful voice that oozes through.

I wrote this while I was high on Opioids. I just desperately wanted to feel like a whole human again. Most days I’d be writhing in pain on the floor screaming, or throwing whatever I could find near me at the walls because I was just so frustrated at how I felt … I was popping about 8 top shelf opioids a day just to take the edge off but I was feeling increasingly out of control of my life, my career, my pregnancy and the life of my baby. I was in and out of hospital with no answers, hanging on the words of the revolving door of doctors that were sent to my bedside. The more questions went unanswered the more I felt trapped and so far away from what I knew of as my normal life.

Ngaiire on Moonshine

It just makes you realize from a music perspective, you don’t know how one releases themselves on a song from such trauma. I can’t even imagine how Ngaiire was able to get through the other side from all of this. Knowing this, I do wonder if this experience relates to her other song ‘Him‘ that is on the album.

Overall, I enjoyed this album. It’s not a typical R&B album if you just listen to the production choices, but that’s okay. If you seen some of the music videos or even the the album art, she’s a little out of the box. It makes for more compelling sounds from the artists, for good or bad. I haven’t heard of Ngaiire before the beginning of this summer and now she’s on my radar.

More About The Artist

Sydney-based, Papau New Guinea-born future-soul artist NGAIIRE shares her emotionally charged new album, ‘3’ via Majestic CasualNGAIIRE has released two previous albums; neo-soul ‘Lamentations’ and pop-soul ‘Blastoma’. Her third album began as an experiment in 2017 to go back to her home country with a small creative team in the hopes of extracting unique visual aspects of PNG culture to present in a contemporary context and alongside music that would be composed throughout and after the research period.

Having built a musical identity that effortlessly crosses genre and art form, her renowned vocals, tight beats and big pop sounds have seen NGAIIRE acquire countless accolades, as well as gracing the stages of Glastonbury through to Splendour In The Grass, and touring alongside artists from Sufjan Stevens to Flume to Alicia Keys and John Legend.

Akosia Puts People On Quest To Reach Her On ISO

The Melbourne artist Akosia releases her single ISO with a very involved music video. I fell in love with her voice which is backed up with the smooth production on the track. At first listen, the vibe really took me away. I was also digging the flip after the second run through of the chorus. It acts as the closure of the song and getting to the goal of the pursuit by adding and removing a few words. It got really intimate and you felt it on Akosia’s delivery. You could also tell from the facial expressions and scenes in the music video right at this mark as well.

That was one of the high points in the video, just seeing how well Akosia working the camera at various spots. You really believe in the guy who is trying his best to get to where she is and she’s just enticing him from afar. I guess the ISO aspect is seeing them by themselves, but she wants him to close that gap. And when you get to end of the song, you can see that excitement in her face. A more intimate way of showing. As she says in the song, she’s not the begging type, but when he came into the picture towards the end, she’s willing and ready. I loved the settings and the different shots. The wall of candles was a stand out for me. Put this track on any neo-soul playlist and it’ll fit right in.

Cover Art Nominees: Week 77

We are almost at the end of another week everyone. First highlighting Singaporean artist Slodown and his single Me & Mrs Wong which takes inspiration from Billy Paul’s Me and Mrs Jones. We have Swedish artist Daniela Rathana with her debut track from her upcoming album, Rathana Club, with Havanna. To have that has your title, the production and she delivered nothing less than quality. Finally we get to the neo-soul artist from Melbourne named Akosia and her latest track ISO. Please enjoy this week’s playlist.

Spend Some Time In The Red Room With Hiatus Kaiyote

It feels like a good while since the last Hiatus Kaiyote project, but Red Room instantly puts me back in the mood. The second the vocalist Nai Palm comes on the track it’s like getting that audio high that you are used to getting. This song has a lot of repeats in its verses so I guess you can take this like a mantra of sorts. You can feel the intensity of the track increasingly get stronger as it goes on. The music video has this old station wagon just going around in circles promoting the new album’s name Mood Variant. And as you watch the car and Nai, you tend to get sucked in and before you know it, the track is over. It has a very calming impact on your ears. I’m so excited for their new album.

Love, Heartbreak, Recovery: Ceeko, Where Do We Begin

We have a bonus post featuring Melbourne artist Ceeko. Yesterday was the release date of his debut EP, Where Do We Begin. 8 tracks that goes into the (not so) typical love cycle in his own eyes.

Those 2000s R&B vibes are a good and plenty in the first full track, Lazy Hours. The production really has you reminiscent of the radio hits from decades past. How Ceeko can hit you such a smooth voice in the verses on one hand and able to put some oomph in that chest at other times shows me he knows when to turn that shine on to get the most out the sound. This is such a fun track to listen to. Lay Low starts off letting you know what kind of mood you need to be in. “It’s so 2005 with ya” is the theme within the theme of this project. The guitars and baseline to this song are the unsung heroes. It’s not often you can find artists who are great at instruments, production, and singing, but Ceeko clearly has all the talent in all aspects.

Passion is a weird one for me and not in a bad way. It’s its own track, but it feels like two interludes put together. I have to be honest, this was the track that I had on repeat the most because the sound was so good. The second half reminds me a little bit of the old school Timberland when he would produce for Ginuwine and Aaliyah. Open is such a beautiful song. The slow paced melody is joy to listen to hear. You can’t claim love to the 2000s if you can’t give a proper slow jam. At first I thought he wanted her to open the door to her room and let him in; nope, that’s too literal. He wants her to open her heart and to let her feelings go. And Ceeko knows that her being vulnerable willingly is hard. There’s nothing like a serenade to soften the anxiety.

Messed Up is a sad song. It’s sad because of Open came before. He put in all this work just to get a chance and it turns out the woman was emotionally eating popcorn having a laugh at Ceeko while he put on a show. When he talked about being put in the friend zone, I think everyone felt that hurt. I mean grown folks and playing games are a big no-no. So you can either wallow in your sadness or pick yourself up and keep it moving. Might as well party with a Strawberry Daiquiri in your hand because life isn’t going to end over one heartbreak. Ceeko ended this EP just as he started, with a positive vibe and a good mood.

There was one thing that was on the tip of my tongue as I was listening to this EP and that was his singing style and who he reminded me of. I had to do some research, but it was J. Holiday. His range is similar in my opinion. What I loved about the production was how Ceeko was experimenting with different sounds throughout, the commitment to the 2000s R&B style was there and evident. The runtime for the project was also good. Ceeko was able to fit a lot of content in 22 minutes which at times felt like the songs were playing longer than I thought. I didn’t even mind because the music was so good. This great debut from Ceeko and something he should be proud to have under his belt. Take a listen to his EP, Where So We Begin.

CEEKO – Where Do We Begin