26 Mar 2019
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A.U.R.A - Album Review: Secret Intelligent Light

08 Mar 2019 // A review by florencecohen

The first time I listened to this album I was irritated. It felt like everything I had tried to escape from in a yoga class – it oozed smugness, knowing it was both overly woke and melodious, twinkling in all the right places. This album wanted credit, it felt the satisfaction it knew it had accomplished. There would never be any anxiety behind a worried lyric or an offhand drumbeat. Like I said, I was irritated.

But, like all challenges, you must face them head on. After donning a pair of headphones, my journey took me to uncomfortable places. Song after beautifully twinkling song was let down by Mikolaj’s slightly embarrassing spiritual need for questioning truth, motherhood, the earth and everything in-between. It’s a shame, because he has such a good voice. Sometimes it’s best just to listen and breathe through it.

However, the more I listened to this album, the more I began to appreciate it. The kinship between the band members is obvious, with precise and carefully planned swells and delicate touches throughout. It makes for an artistic, yet highly listenable album that is sure to get A.U.R.A. an even bigger following. And it might even go on repeat at my house.

Secret Intelligent Light may look like a short album, but it takes listeners on an unexpected journey, and I believe that journey is unique to everyone. I finished this album feeling like I’d completed an hour of Yin at the Community Centre, there was a satisfaction upon hearing the end of DR. Simone. It was a relaxing 28 minutes, but it was stirring too. It’s a great album for someone with epilepsy – there aren’t too many unexpected highs or lows, no one ever shouts and it’s still never boring. I expect to be running to Secret Intelligent Light for the next few weeks until A.U.R.A.’s Wellington show.

Who Decides became my favourite song on the album. With a splash of Bon Iver, the deeper range of Mikolaj shines through. It should be a sad song, perfect for coming-of-age films or a changing-of-the-seasons montage, but instead it stands alone. Mikolaj sounds both powerful and powerless on this track, as if he’s run out of energy. Finally, that smugness we saw initially is fading, and a new vulnerability allowed to come through.

The more I listened to Secret Intelligent Light, the more I managed to relax. Assume Fire, with its hint of Death Cab for Cutie, allowed me to mellow out for a few minutes and focus on breathing. I was breathing deeply, almost meditatively, and enjoying it for the first time. This is the perfect album to take some time out for yourself. At only 28 minutes it’s the perfect relaxation tape – pop it on and half an hour later you’ll be feeling fun, fresh and free of life’s stresses. So, whether you play this album while painting your nails, preparing dinner, drawing, crying or actually doing yoga – make sure it’s for you. Because that’s what A.U.R.A. would want.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About A.U.R.A

A.U.R.A is the solo project of New Zealand born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Albert Miko?aj. G.I Wonder the first single from A.U.R.A’s upcoming work Secret Intelligent Light, which was premiered by Impose Magazine on March 8th. G.I Wonder was since featured on Apple Music's New Alternative releases as well as the Best of the Week playlist for Apple Music Japan. Produced by Ben Lemi of TrinityRoots and French for Rabbits, Secret Intelligent Light is due for release via his Los Angeles based record label Cosmic Dreamer in 2018.

"Mikolaj’s vocal patterns are out of this world, as they are highly memorable in the first thirty seconds of the song. G.I. Wonder is enthralling because we can’t hear a continuous genre being played, it’s like a huge mix up of world and pop music with hints of indie rock with a bit of folk, which we think is unique. G.I. Wonder will leave you breathless." - Impose Magazine

"One of New Zealand's greatest hidden talents..." - Grayson Gilmour

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for A.U.R.A

Releases

Secret Intelligent Light
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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