A few things became manifestly clear to me during Hiatus Kaiyote’s headlining set at Byron Bay’s Sonic Architects’ National Conference last weekend.
The first was that the musical evolution of this Australian future-soul group is a magnificent one to experience, best live.
Old songs performed from the debut album Tawk Tomahawk sounded fresh – dynamically recomposed to create innovative new versions of the originals full of wonderful sonic surprises. New tracks played live from their just-released (digitally only ) EP By Fire, a teaser to the upcoming album Choose Your Weapon, were similarly but differently diverse, innovative and fluid blends of jazz, soul, funk, electronica and hip hop in which you could blink to find that the sonic vibe within a song had delightfully morphed into another.
The second clear thing at the show was that every one of those Hiatus Kaiyote songs old and new, in all their sonic diversity, sounds like no other music in the world. With all the music that’s been made so far in our long history of music, that unique sound in 2014 is a special thing.
Whilst hearing Hiatus Kaiyote perform those songs live in all their fresh glory and witnessing the incredible ‘multi-dimensional polyrhythmic’ chops of its instrumentalists, it was also plain to hear that I can count Simon Mavin (keys/synths), Paul Bender (bass) and Perrin Moss (drums/percussion) amongst my favorite contemporary musicians in the world to listen to.
In witnessing the spunky Nai Palm breathe life and passion into those songs with every single one of her movements and unique, soulful scatting-to-operatic-like vocal sounds, it was absolutely clear that Australia’s Nai Palm has a well-deserved place in that group called ‘the world’s greatest contemporary music divas’.
The inclusion of three back-up singers in their live performance (Loreli+Jace+Jay Jay) – two of them vocalists in supporting group Kirkis – adds something extra wholesome to Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound which although usual to find in soul/R&B groups from the States (almost every international act at Australia’s recent Soulfest festival for example), is unfortunately not so commonly found in Australian music.
Watch footage here of Hiatus Kaiyote performing live at Byron Bay’s Sonic Architects’ National Conference…
Joined on stage by Remi in this one…
I predict that the March 2015 release of Choose Your Weapon (in hard-copy of course) will be a special day in world music history; and so will the days after that when Hiatus Kaiyote will no doubt tour their new music to various corners of the world. Until those days come, remind yourself here of the musical goodness that Hiatus Kaiyote gave us last year with Tawk Tomahawk…
‘Sphinx Gate’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (2013)
Check out more Hiatus Kaiyote tracks + videos of live Hiatus Kaiyote & Nai Pam solo shows here.
Kirkis and the other Melbourne-based sonic architects who supported Hiatus Kaiyote (Remi, Silent Jay and Jace XL) with their own blends of hip hop, soul and electronica were a perfect compliment to the headlining architects – and all the performances combined made for a sublimely soulful night at the Byron Bay Brewery.