For the last three years, Auckland’s Rebecca Melrose, aka Miloux, has been crafting her unique blend of ambient electronica on the live circuit. Her vocal prowess rarely fails to drop jaws, resulting in a lot of buzz for this young artist. Having gained visibility as a featuring vocalist on tracks by producers such as Terace, Benson and Chores, ‘EP 1’ marks her first solo outing. Think Grimes with a penchant for jazz/neo soul vocals, pop writing sensibilities and ‘90s RnB beats. With Ben Lawson donning the producer’s cap and recording taking place at Red Bull studios in Auckland, it’s a superior sounding effort than most debut releases. An ear for elaborate detail and depth helps Miloux bring these tracks to life, giving already good pop songs an extra dimension. Opener Pocket walks the tightrope between uplift and ambient suspense. These Rules provides more of a chilled out atmosphere and Beaches restores faith in the never-ending build. Care is evident in balancing virtuosity with memorable melodies, an often uneasy mix that Miloux pulls off with ease. Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, its four original compositions are joined by a remix of Beaches by Stack & Piece. By far the most beat-heavy track on ‘EP 1’, it not only hints at the seemingly limitless potential within her music, but displays an ease and flexibility in collaborations. It’s a brief introduction to Miloux’s art, but one that will no doubt excite listeners about any future full-length release. • Sammy Jay Dawson
Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music in Wellington is celebrating the addition of a collection of traditional musical instruments from China by renaming one of its music rooms the Asia-Pacific Music Studio.
NZSM Director Euan Murdoch says the new name reflects the wider Asia-Pacific focus of the instruments in the room, previously called the “Gamelan Room”, for housing a Javanese gamelan on permanent loan from the Indonesian embassy for the past 40 years.
The latest addition to the room is a collection of Chinese string and percussion instruments.
Ethnomusicology lecturer Dr Brian Diettrich says the room immerses students in the culture, language, and customs of music of the Asia-Pacific region.
“These instruments give students the opportunity to look at music performance, sounds, and composition in different ways. For example in a gamelan ensemble performers swap instruments and play without sheet music. We want this model between music and culture to work with the new Chinese instruments, too.”
Additionally, the studio holds a collection of Māori instruments, as well as ones from the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, and other areas.
Students studying throughout the University can use the instruments for research within classes, for demonstrations and workshops, and for performance learning.
Musical risk-takers Wendyhouse return with an EP/Comic, where the compositional process involved the band’s two members starting by swapping drawings, writing passages to go with the drawings, then writing songs based on all of the above. This unusual style of collaboration has produced some rather left-field lyrics, many of which appear to hint at deep truths beneath the stream of consciousness flow. Album opener Lord Denim is a mellow, delicate affair with guitar and kazoo, though the lyrics include such outré phrases as “nipple clamp bitch wicket”. The second track brings the vintage noisy Wendyhouse vibe, with a distorted guitar jus drizzled over a crunchy bed of Casiotone drums, reminiscent of their classic Suit Suit Kill Kill. Overall the album is quite reflective in tone, but delivered in a way that’s completely unconventional. The genius of Wendyhouse is that they are able to make songs out of items that most people don’t even consider to be musical instruments. As well as things like a toy accordion, they employ jam jar lids and electric toothbrushes, even a Slow Boat Records’ bag. Inspirational stuff! • Bing Turkby