Hiatus Kaiyote – Sonic Architects of Magnificence

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.

Nai Palm with Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014

Nai Palm – Hiatus Kaiyote live at Byron Bay Brewery

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.

Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014


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’.

Nai Palm with Hiatus Kaiyote live in Australia 2014

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

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

Tawk Tomahawk (2013)

‘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.

Remi live at Byron Bay Brewery 2014


Kirkis live at Byron Bay Brewery 2014






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Nai Palm with Nai Palm

Nai Palm started her music career standing solo on Melbourne stages with her voice and a guitar.

She was singing songs that later became the foundation of magnificent arrangements by her and other members of Hiatus Kaiyote – including this year’s Grammy nominated song Nakamarra (featuring Q-Tip) from their 2012 album Tawk Tomahawk.

On Friday night I found Nai Palm standing solo on a Melbourne stage again, guitar and voice, singing stripped-back versions of those Hiatus Kaiyote songs.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

She sang songs from Tawk Tomahawk – and a new, never-played-live-before song called ‘Molasses’ from the forthcoming Hiatus Kaiyote album.

Check out this video of Nai Palm performing ‘Molasses’ live at her solo show on Friday…

A different venue and/or a different crowd, and this Nai Palm solo show might have been amazing.  She’s a fantastic artist making beautiful music –  and an absolute pleasure to watch and hear perform live (I know from WOMADelaide last month).

Hiatus Kaiyote Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote live at WOMADelaide 2014

The problem for me at the John Curtin gig was that I couldn’t hear much of her through the crowd 🙁 .  And that made me miss the sounds of instrumentation from the rest of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Listen here to a dirty mp3 version of the song ‘Malika’ from Tawk Tomahawk for a reminder of the unique musical goodness of Nai Palm and Hiatus Kaiyote as a whole…

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012)

‘Malika’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk 


Listen to 2 other sample tracks from Tawk Tomahawk here.

I’ll try and catch Nai Palm solo again when I can – hopefully in a sit-down, quiet venue where I can properly hear and appreciate her unique vocals and guitar playing.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

People in Sydney can find a Nai Palm solo show at the Newtown Social Club on 5 June.  Melbourne can get a weekly dose of Hiatus Kaiyote live at Howler every Wednesday in May. And of course the blessed in Melbourne and Sydney this coming week can hear Hiatus Kaiyote live supporting Erykah Badu. I’m amongst those blessed 🙂 .

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Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk Forever After

“I can’t believe that you haven’t heard of Hiatus Kaiyote! Where have you been?  They’re an awesome Melbourne band that Erykah Badu’s been promoting.”

My friend with great taste in music, said that to me recently in Melbourne. Recommended by both he and Queen Badu, find Hiatus Kaiyote I had to.

So find, listen to, love and buy their 2012 album Tawk Tomahawk at a local independent record store I did.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

He was right…Where had I been?  I should have heard this music sooner.

Exceptional Australian Music

In my last post I came clean with my unpatriotic truth that there’s not much Australian music I find that blows me away. That’s not a criticism of Australian musicianship. Australia has lots of brilliant and innovative musicians. It’s simply that most of the music created here (at least that I find) just doesn’t excite me.

Hiatus Kaiyote’s music is an exception.

I’m happy to have added an Australian album to my collection that is equally as interesting and loveable to me as the rest of the collection of music by artists from elsewhere in the world. It’s a lesson to me that maybe I just need to look harder in Australia to find the amazingness.

Flavours & Sounds

Hiatus Kaiyote is the very talented and innovative Nai Palm (vocals & guitar; Simon Mavin (keys & synths); Paul Bender (bass, guitar, synths & effects); and Perrin Moss (drums, percussions, synths & effects)….

…making beautiful and ever-so-loveable music together.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote

‘Future soul’ and ‘Neo-soul’ seem to be the phrases used most to try to describe Hiatus Kaiyote’s music…some blend or other of sounds from soul, hip hop, electro, r&b, jazz, opera, popLatin and Afro genres.

So many musical flavours. So hard to put into a genre box. That’s why I love this music. It’s totally unique.

And whatever it is and whatever it’s named, it is true that it’s simply awesome Australian music that should be heard.

Hiatus Kaiyote on Vinyl Forever

Check out these mp3 [only] sample tracks from Tawk Tomahawk yourself for a small taste of the diversity of sounds on the album…

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012) – Hiatus Kaiyote

Lace Skulls 


Awesome songs aren’t they? The rest of the tracks on Tawk Tomahawk are as well – including the bonus remix of Nakamarra, featuring Q-Tip – nominated for ‘Best R&B Performance’ in this year’s Grammy Awards no less.

The entire Hiatus Kaiyote album – in it’s CD or Vinyl glory – is abundantly worth hearing, buying and having in your music collection to enjoy forever after.

Remember I shared some beautiful tracks with you from Ngaiire’s album Lamentations? Well Nai Palm’s gorgeous, soulful vocals feature with Ngaiire on one of them. Find Dirty Hercules here.

Hiatus Kaiyote Live

Lucky I am then, and lucky is anyone else going to WOMADelaide Festival in March. We get to have ourselves the live Hiatus Kaiyote and Ngaiire experiences there – plus more with a bunch of other diverse and incredible artists from different corners of the world. Only 7 more weeks to wait until my musical Christmas comes!

Until then people in Melbourne can try to find a Hiatus Kaiyote show or one of Nai Palm’s solo gigs.  Just one more of so many other musical reasons to be in Melbourne really :).

Nai Palm

Nai Palm

Another one is that after WOMADelaide, incredibly lucky is anyone who has themselves a ticket for Erykah Badus April show in Melbourne where Hiatus Kaiyote will be supporting.

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