TUI MAMAKI

Metro Magazine NZ - - Albums -

FLY

(In­de­pen­dent)

So strong was the aroma of Karekare Beach hippy about The Ma­maku Project that you could prac­ti­cally smell the patchouli oil ooz­ing off the vi­bra­tions of their hotch­potch of mu­sic styles. They were am­bi­tious, in their own way, but their rag­tag con­coc­tion was flawed.

When the wheels came off, it was per­haps in­evitable that the group’s front­per­son, Tui Mamaki, would feel her way to­wards a solo al­bum. But

Fly is a real sur­prise, and for those who can han­dle the idea of spend­ing half an hour lis­ten­ing pri­mar­ily to voice and acous­tic gui­tar, it’s some­thing of a rev­e­la­tion.

On Fly, the loose, rogue el­e­ments that lim­ited her for­mer group’s fo­cus have been re­placed by an in­tense, al­most de­vo­tional ar­dour that’s at once deeply re­flec­tive and cel­e­bra­tory. And there’s some­thing else that in­vests her solo de­but with a point of dif­fer­ence that’s sur­pris­ing: it’s the prod­uct of an im­mer­sion in Bul­gar­ian mu­sic, and she’s brushed up her vo­cal tech­nique to re­flect the in­fi­nite sub­tleties and modal as­pects of that cul­ture.

This isn’t half-hearted cul­tural tourism; Mamaki moved to Bul­garia to un­der­take her stud­ies, then recorded the re­sult — six exquisitely in­ti­mate songs that bear a Koan­like sim­plic­ity — in France. She has an­other group, Acapol­li­na­tions, which more ex­plic­itly ref­er­ences her in­ter­est in Bul­gar­ian folk­lore, but it’s in­trin­sic to Fly, too, peak­ing on the ex­quis­ite and rather epic open­ing track, “Fol­low”, and the last song, an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Bul­gar­ian folk tune, “Gyuro”.

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, it’s the sense that Fly rep­re­sents a clean break from the past with an im­pas­sioned and beau­ti­fully ar­tic­u­lated set of ru­mi­na­tions on the things that mat­ter that makes the al­bum carry its weight with grace.

FLY IS RE­LEASED ON NO­VEM­BER 1. TUI MAMAKI PER­FORMS IN AUCK­LAND ON NO­VEM­BER 11.

GARY STEEL PRE­SIDES

OVER EN­TER­TAIN­MENT SITE WITCHDOCTOR.CO.NZ

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