24 Sep 2020

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

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


Secret Intelligent Light
Year: 2019
Type: Album

Other Reviews By florencecohen

Queen Neptune - Single Review: Edge of the Programmed World
15 Mar 2019 // by florencecohen
Your first encounter with Queen Neptune will always be memorable. A polite, older man who could joke about his massive leather briefcase, Karl was the perfect hotel lift companion when we met on Queen Street.
Carb On Carb - Single/Video Review: Man Says
14 Mar 2019 // by florencecohen
The accompanying vid for Carb on Carb’s latest emo single Man Says is intriguing, and yet I feel like I’ve seen it, and lived it, a few times before. An old dog made to try various hats, a bedroom filled with messy New Zealand stationary (the Warwick A5 makes an appearance), gluggy nail polish and Vans checked wristbands.
Khandallah - Single Review: Never Did with Hunter Davison
14 Mar 2019 // by florencecohen
Relationships are tough creatures to manoeuvre at any age, but particularly so when you’ve only just outgrown shopping at Hallensteins and made the bold and impressive move to step up to Barkers menswear. A smile here, a wave there, and a relationship is eagerly blossoming in Khandallah The Musical Artist’s eyes.
Jasmine Tilyard - Single Review: Take It To The Grave
28 Feb 2019 // by florencecohen
I would not like to hurt Jasmine Tilyard. I’m sure she’s a sweet teenager under all that blonde angst, but honestly, I’d be terrified for my life and/or my reputation if ever we crossed paths.
Polar Extremes - Album Review: Strange Visions 1
25 Feb 2019 // by florencecohen
Polar Extremes has nicely packaged your worst fears in their latest album Strange Visions 1. Haunting depictions of the end of the world, madness, sadness and wasted time.
Kaylee Bell - Single Review: Keith
20 Feb 2019 // by florencecohen
It’s your classic Sunday ‘treat yourself’ evening – pizza, sweatpants, and a Netflix rom-com. By the time the camera finally pans away from the glossy couple with the perfect teeth, holding hands, walking away, you get this overwhelming big-heart-in-the-throat feeling.
View All Articles By florencecohen

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • WAP
    Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  • MOOD
    24kGoldn feat. Iann Dior
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
    Internet Money And Gunna feat. Don Toliver And NAV
    Drake feat. Lil Durk
    Chris Brown And Young Thug
    Joel Corry feat. MNEK
    Pop Smoke feat. Lil Tjay
    DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem