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An online magazine 2013-16. Artists on artists. Music, food, travel, art and culture. Now a tribute to our late editor Susie Surtees (2/6/53-22/7/18)

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Artists on Artists

Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

On 12, Jan 2014 | In Artists on Artists | By jane

Hiatus Kaiyote

It’s hard to find revolutionary music these days, but this record unquestionably reveals new sonic possibilities. If one has to name it, people are calling it Neo Soul. It’s fresh outta Melbourne—but to me, sounds more like Neo Soul from Mars, dripping with psychedelic primal sexuality, submerged in a timeless crystalline ocean.

This relatively new act is of such quality that they have already opened for Thundercat, and soon, will warm the stage for Erykah Badu.

I wanted to make the listening session for this review as iconic as the record, so on a warm January afternoon, I pulled out the vinyl, set the turntable spinning, and reveled in the rich analogue warmth of my recently acquired 1968 Radiogram (thanks Granny!). Listening to vinyl on valve is other-worldly, like Track One, Side A, ‘Mobius Streak’.

‘Mobius Streak’ is as time bending as the name suggests, and once the groove drops, Nai Palm’s liquid smoky vocal enters, and one is transported to an alternate sonic landscape. The chorus reaches a kaleidescopic degree of harmony, complemented by thick low-end, before resolving to the Möbius strip guitar/bass ostinato. The track feels limitless as the song elevates and escalates into the chorus section, warping one’s sense of time. It had me checking the speed of my record player in the best possible way!

Tawk Tomohawk is a soundscape with unpredictably long and short track times and myriad time signature shifts throughout. Noteworthy is the groove preceding the vocal entry on ‘Lace Skull’. The track initially holds a languid, fluid energy from the interplay between the wide tremolo guitar ostinato and piano part before exploding, finishing with bird-sounds and descending keys flowing into ‘Rainbow Rhodes’.  This track is a segue into another mood all together, where Nai Palm sings with a potent, ancient authority on ‘Sphinx Gate’. Non-traditionally, the album concludes with the act’s best-known track ‘Nakamarra’, a benchmark neo-soul track for the new generation.  ‘Love you, I do…’ Hiatus Kaiyote.

My housemate, who was also basking in this album’s gorgeous retro richness juxtaposed with a modern aesthetic said, ‘It’s the kind of album you wanna put on, have a glass of wine and make dinner to, but then, you unexpectedly end up f*#*&ng on the kitchen bench half way through’. I’ll second that.

Review written by Aurora Jane for Mojo Juction – ‘Artists on Artists’


Get your copy of Tawk Tomohawk here: