11 Dec 2018
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Baitercell - EP Review: Toka

23 Nov 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

Toka is the latest release from Baitercell; an EP comprised of three Drum n Bass tracks with 100% Te Reo Maori lyrics. The tracks Te Wai Te Ora (The Water, The Life), Te Pukumeke (The Final Strike) and Hine Ruru (A goddess in the form of a native owl of Aotearoa), are inspired by Papatuanuku, Tangaroa, Ranginui (the respective Maori gods of earth, water and sky) and the connection we need to have with our earth. As such, the tracks have as much of a natural vibe as a spiritual one, intertwined.

The EP features Huia and Rei on vocals, with Huia opening and closing the EP, and Rei taking on the central track. On the vocal side of things, the two vocalists provide similar yet opposing styles; Huia’s style adding a sense of fluidity and flow, with soft, lingering notes throughout, whereas Rei holds a deeper, concise, almost staccato quality. The Te Reo Maori lends itself well to the electronic genre, with the heavy presence of vowels allowing the stretching of words to occur without sounding forced, and the guttural, terse nature of the male pronunciation adding an additional percussive element.

While the EP begins with some dreamy synths, the oncoming fast paced drum beat never takes the forefront. Rather the instrumental aspect provides a pedestal for the vocal element. Huia’s tracks (Te Wai Te Ora & Hine Ruru) have a lighter sense to them, which lifts the soul and mirrors the Huia’s angelic contributions. A beautiful sound that I can easily listen to on repeat. Feels like an ethereal transient dream state, with a smooth almost jazz/lounge vibe, over the top of that underlying expeditious beat.

Rei’s central track has a much stronger, grounded vibe to it. With more snappy groove, and more contrasting between the verse and chorus, the energy levels peak and trough to a greater extent unlocking a rhythm that makes the body want to move. With a more bass-heavy influence and light vocal harmonies, the track has a lot of depth.

While the Te Reo vocals are the focal point of the EP, I would be remiss to not bring up the great drumming done by Corey Friedlander (possibly most well-known for his work with City Of Souls and 8 Foot Sativa). The consistent pace and tastefully chosen fills are a display of great control. Never stealing the limelight, but accentuating the tracks, with more hi-hat-centric patterns in Te Wai Te Ora, greater snare presence in Te Pukumeke, and an off-beat tom-snare combo in Hine Ruru. An additional piece of info for you too, all drums were recorded in an hour. An impressive organic display of rhythm.

A pleasant listening experience overall that makes me wish there was much more where that came from. A release that creates a feeling of ease with energy flow, tranquillity with awareness. All without knowing what the lyrics actually are. Well worth checking out.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Baitercell

Baitercell was formed in 1994, and has remixed everything from Push Push, The Clean and Kiss to Karen Hunter.

Baitercell are very much at the forefront of NZ's electronic dance music sound. He is signed with Kog Transmissions and is from Auckland.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Baitercell

Releases

Toka
Year: 2018
Type: Album
The Wall Of Bass Technique
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Prototype
Year: 1998
Type: EP

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