Mamaku - Twigs Of Gold (Monkey Records) 
Mamaku - Twigs Of Gold

When I started listening to this album I had the Winter Olympics on the TV (muted, of course) and discovered very early on that this music does not provide a suitable soundtrack to Ice Hockey. I switched to some of the Snowboarding, however, and when they do the slow-mo replays of the tricks then the music of Mamaku fits perfectly. Now, after that scientific sojourn, let's talk about the music itself. Mamaku is a duo made up of French-Kiwis Tui Mamaki (vocals) and the enigmatically named Monsieur E (everything else) and they make cool, chilled out, swaggering electro-organic music in the vein of Zero 7, Morcheeba and Portishead. Tracks like 'Berlin' and 'Blank Canvas' has a dark, sultry feel to them that draw you in against your better judgement - much like a fortune teller with inexplicably entrancing eyes. 'Pharaoh's Milkyway' has a north Afrian vibe to the music while 'Angel In Gumboots' has the keyboard sound of a French detective movie from the early 70s, such is the eclectic and multinational feel of this pair. 'Rain', 'Twigs Of Gold' and 'Mon Ami' are all very different tracks instrumentally speaking but they are all tied together by Mamaki's dusky, sultry and smoother than buttered silk vocal skills which are simply sublime.

This is definitely electronic music for those who want to chill and, on occasion, it borders on trip-hop or more world music inspired genres that Giles Peterson would get very excited about. 'Taonga' is the perfect example with its tabla rhythms fused with carnival horn melodies taking you to place somewhere between downtown Delhi and Mardi Gras - an experience that is good for your soul, trust me. 'Much Too Much' has the rhythm of a ska tune mixed with the noises from Super Mario Brothers and vocals that you might expect to float out of a Notting Hill bar on a sunny Saturday afternoon as you stroll around looking with a fruit based cocktail in your hand. Finishing up with 'Oya', Mamaku yet again show off their multi-influenced, multi-instrumental and multi-lingual skills with a smoky Jazz bar song that wraps itself around you before stealing your heart along with your wallet. Now to try watching the Figure Skating with this on in my headphones....

More information:

Live Dates:

14th February - Colville Road, Coromandel
22nd February - Gardens Arts Festival, Hamilton

28th February - Kings Arms, Auckland