Native New Zealander Kingston Trinder selects five of the nation's most enthralling emerging artists
Aotearoa, that faraway land of the longest white cloud; a verdant archipelago at the very ends of the Pacific, New Zealand is possessed of a symphonic landscape equally as varied as the country itself. Polynesian-defined reggae, and dub, darkest garage rock and deepest trance, death metal, and melodious southern pop, for a nation of just over four and a half million inhabitants, most imaginable sonic realms evolve wholly explored. Lorde, The Naked and the Famous and Broods may eclipse internationally, yet there are several other equally notable producers, performers and melody-makers, one should encounter. AnOther selects five of the nation’s most enthralling, under-the-radar New Zealand musicians and a sampling of their latest sounds for your auditory pleasure.
1) Connan Mockasin
Connan Mockasin possesses a languorous, seductive and daydreamed sound. Sweetest molasses to the ear, thickest synthesizer entwines with breathless whisper, tentative keyboard and alluring guitar riffs, as Connan draws one forth. Deep now within a mahogany-lined parlour, reclining hearthside upon a leopard-skin throw, listen closely as a sweetened forefinger draws languidly upwards, across a milk-pale medallion-wreathed chest. Before being quietly, delicately, delectably suckled. A temptress, a calypso tease, following 2011’s Forever Dolphin Love, and 2013’s revered Caramel, expect further aural delicacies in 2016 from the man that will find you. We suggest that you devour his latest track, Feelin’ Lovely – a collaboration with Blood Orange's Devonté Hynes immediately.
Languorous with lost youth’s love, nostalgic producer Lontalius authors melancholic journeys that euphorically arc, and then achingly fall. Low-fi, ambient, considered lamentations of regret and redemption, these longing compositions of the Ryan Hemsworth variety, betray a meditative nature far beyond that of Eddie Johnson’s two decades. Wind-chime melodies, a yearning three-am voice, accompanied by hesitant guitar and tender keyboard, these elegies are the scrapbook musings and exploratory chords of once-blossomed adolescence. Sweetest bird of youth, "There’s no room left for me in your heart" laments Johnson on Walk Me Home, and "All I have to offer is my love, it’s not enough," on All I Wanna Say, expect Lontailus’ debut album later this year.
Kaleidoscopes of tangerine-marigold, seashore rambling and stolen summer kisses beneath a weeping willow’s boughs, Madeira is the pseudonym of Kim Pflaum. Melding trysts of handclap, Beach House organ, undulating drums, maraca twists and Pflaum’s soaring Icarus voice, her innovative compositions offer anthemic New Wave arrangements, entwined with wholly Antipodean serenading. An imploring synthesiser accompanies heartbroken appeals to "let me down gently" on an eponymous new single, whilst wistfully lovely appearances alongside Boycrush, Cyril Hahn and more recently Brett, for a darkest reimagining of KISS’s Christine Sixteen all auger well for Plfaum’s eagerly awaited debut EP.
"Do you really want to know, how it feels to confide in voids," ominously chants the youthful producer October; Emma Logan. Possessed of a darkest ambience, cyclically rhythmic tempo, a sound self-described as "if Patti Smith was produced by Kanye West circa 1999 late 2015 single, Voids and an "I wanna be adored" cacophonous Stone Roses reimagining, buttressed an exploratory first EP, Rinse. Another, forthcoming Switchblade, stands to offer further foreboding compositions; apocalyptic New Order, with notes of Arca, and FKA Twigs. Raised by the Internet and country-town New Zealand in equal measure, October’s amalgam of after-midnight vocals, disenchanted synthesizers and trepidatious VHS chords, proves intoxicating.
Another Pacific archipelago, Hawaii, alongside New Zealand, created multiform Kody Neilson; one-time Mint Chick and brother of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson. Operating under the new guise: Silicon, Neilson authors psychedelic journeys of syncopated rhythm, saturated with tender falsetto and polyphonic sprees of synthesizer, cymbal, keyboard and timpani. "Never be lonely, Personal Computer," he elatedly chants across the debut album’s eponymous composition, before progressing through several cautionary yet joyous tales of human obsolescence.