15 Dec 2018
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Tali - Album Review: Love & Migration

11 Nov 2018 // A review by Jeremy Graham

Tali releases her first full length Drum n Bass album since 2011’s Dark Days, High Nights, firmly planted on a label fans will undoubtedly know as synonymous with all things Soulful and Deep; Fokuz Recordings via Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The “Liquid” Drum n Bass genre has become seemingly instilled with a certain genericism over the past few years; drum tracks often sounding like they’ve been plucked from the same static “sample pack of the moment”, and arrangements & instrumentation rarely taper off into unknown territory. In an age of over saturation and mediocrity, it is becoming increasingly harder to stand out from the crowd, and for a return-of artist album such as Love & Migration, it is difficult to claim confidence in how far out of the mold this record really stands.

Lyrically, the majority of tracks on the Love & Migration album are heavily rooted in self-reflection, and at times its specific content comes across as a touch predictable and borderlines on becoming awkward, strangely reflected in the cover art and design.

Opening track Situations delves into describing the isolation and experience with the collaboration process; Paper Wasp describing the artists struggle in coming up with material, dealing with criticism, taking risks and letting things go; and Language describing the artists journey and longing to become a writer & performer - all a touch indulgent perhaps for the opening few tracks and in setting up the tone for the rest of the album.

This could be dangerously paralleled as a common approach ultimately taken by artists who’ve created a touring bubble; seemingly trapped in writing about the tribulations of “the road” as their detachment from the rest of the world starts to take hold. Despite the obviously stringent levels of production involved throughout the tracks on this record, one can’t help but imagine that this notion may have subtly crept into the DNA of the album, if only by accident.

Initial suspicions aside, this is indeed an album tailored for fans of the genre and it is easy to see why, as it fits snuggly at home alongside other releases and artists on the Fokuz roster with ease, and the choice of collaboration reinforces this to a T.

Silence Groove featuring on the track Sonder does a triumphant job in delivering not only beautifully orchestrated atmospheric instrumentation, but a cleverly put together vocal performance by Tali & Blake and comes across as one of the more unified tracks on the album, showing a much more refined glimpse and delivery of consciously constructed lyrics.

Bone featuring Rosadub & Truth also offers a brief side step away from the rest of the album; it’s clunky beat forcibly creating prosody in reference to bones breaking, a nice touch although be it a slightly distracting addition from the otherwise ethereal vocals and melodic elements. This particular track comes across with a much more honest, vulnerable and open delivery, somewhat missing from previous tracks, and does well at portraying a development of thought-provoking ideas and feelings, which is welcomed at this point.

It would have been nice to hear the title track Love & Migration appear much earlier on in the track list, as it does a fantastic job in setting the mood inherent throughout the rest of the album; a real stand out track which features all the qualities of an anthemic 'Liquid Roller'. Instead, it’s left as a lone gem as the last remaining track on the release; a deliberate move maybe, but one that does not go unnoticed or unquestioned.

Time and distance can be hugely advantageous for any artist or creative person; it creates breathing space to allow for moments of clarity, mindful rest, self-evaluation, experimentation and development, to then go back into one's craft with a fresh perspective. For a talented artist, vocalist, writer and role model such as Tali, it seems an opportunity has been missed with this album to really go beyond the norm, and it would have been great to see her branch out into far more experimental, un-safe, vivid territory for a re-debuting album such as this, especially given her stature within the industry, and the obscured sense of relatability depicted in this instance.

Perhaps this is more a reflection on the state of the genre; the expectations of its audience, the requirements of the label, and where one positions to find a place within it all, more than anything else.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

About Tali

One of the most prolific MC's to come out of Drum and Bass in the last ten years, Tali's ability to freestyle and sing soulful, positive and intelligent vocals over the mix, has seen her stay top of her game. She has won numerous awards, released two new albums in the last 12 months ("Dark Days, High Nights" - Audioporn Records) and toured the world extensively as both an MC and live act.

Originally from a Dairy Farm in Taranaki, Tali moved to the UK ten years to follow her dreams of becoming a top international MC.

After signing to the legendary Full Cycle Label owned and run by Roni Size, Tali went onto to release the first ever MC album 'Lyric on my Lip' with a UK top 40 single and worldwide tour and selling over 15,000 albums.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tali

Releases

Do It For Yourself
Year: ????
Type: Album
Love & Migration
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Keta
Year: 2016
Type: EP
Wolves
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Of Things To Come...
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Lyric On My Lip
Year: 2004
Type: Album

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