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Yoruba Records MELBOURNE house producer Mike Steva’s debut LP reflects a maturity and richness in production that makes it perfect fare for the worldly Yoruba imprint. Blending influences from Steva’s Macedonian background with adventurous instrumentation, tribal rhythms, soulful vocals and intermittent moodiness, Who Am I’s convenient summation as a house record disregards Steva’s talent for striking such a nice balance between warm vocal tunes and darker, more driving grooves. Who Am I is also peppered with contributions from several Melbourne musicians and artists, starting with the title-track opener, which brings together the spoken-word vocal of poet Bianca Maya Foulton with off-kilter drums, squelchy synths and an unnerving background effect. Moment in Time is a brilliantly mellow, lounge-like offering elevated through the pipes of Berlin-based singer George Levin. The tight ReSolution featuring Yoruba head Osunlade evokes memories of classics from Soul Heaven and Vega Records. Sunce, translated to “sunshine”, brings the happy vibes in what is an instrumental track underpinned by punchy horns, while Oasis demonstrates the variety of instrumentation featured throughout the album, as drums, percussion, keys, Rhodes and marimba combine to create a deep rhythmical journey.
Weekend Love is the album’s feel-good standard, permeated by an unobtrusive beat that promotes the soulful back-and-forth between Melbourne vocalists Motty & Siobhan. Steva’s steady rhythms and mix of vibes make Who Am I an idiosyncratic offering, and one easy to sink into.
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