19 May 2022

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theajsound and NEEKOH - Single Review: Minefield

04 Dec 2020 // A review by Jamie Denton
Collaborations are inherently risky propositions; how will two distinct and strong personalities work together? Will their visions of the output align? How will two signature sounds combine? Will one get lost or overpowered by the other? But within all of that risk there lies the potential for something magical, something that sits just on the periphery of what those artists could create individually, and something that just works. Unfortunately, often such collaborations succumb to the risk, and fail to reach the reward. Indeed, for every Under Pressure, there are a ton of Lulu’s. Luckily, in this case, the risk has been completely worth it.

Taking a break from his celebrity status in his native Finland, pop-star and previous Finland’s Pop Idol finalist NEEKOH has arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand and has teamed up with Indo-Kiwi pop singer-songwriter and producer theajsound. The fruit of this collaboration, the intriguing, genre-bending Minefield has dropped recently and is definitely in the Under Pressure camp!

There is a wonderful subtlety to the song, which is especially evident in the song structure. The first obvious example of this is the way that theajsound and NEEKOH restrain the number of times they repeat their well-crafted, strong, hooky, anthemic chorus. Lesser acts would have leaned much heavier on that chorus, using it at least a couple more times and driving it home through repetition. But that’s the beauty of Minefield. It doesn’t. You want to hear that chorus more; you’re going to have to hit repeat on the song. It’s a confident, creative, and classy move.

Musically, the track is propelled by a deep, dark bass and dance-floor filling drum track, and liberally peppered with an interesting, delay and filter heavy lead synth line. Throughout the track, a variety of audio dynamics are created through introducing, adding, or removing one or some of these elements. This is especially evident in the first intro and first verse which sees the slow introduction for all of the musical building blocks, then the rapid muting of them to allow NEEKOH’s voice to carry the track. Under this incredibly strong vocal, these musical building blocks are then slowly reintroduced; building towards that gorgeous chorus. Similar restraint is employed again during the second verse; however, new elements create a more hip-pop style to showcase theajsound’s vocal.

This is a track that I was immediately drawn to. From first listen, I was hooked, but still it got stronger and stronger with every listen as the songwriting and structural elements started to make more sense to me. This is a collaboration that definitely works, and one that I hope will continue in the future.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

Other Reviews By Jamie Denton

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Initially conceived of as purely a studio project to fuse electronica with live drums and other instruments, Auckland-based alternative/electronica Speech Act Theory is the brainchild of producer/musician Pete Hickman alongside drummer Ben Bradford. With the project kicking off in the latter end of 2019 — which is probably not the greatest timing, with all the upcoming turmoil and disruption to live music etc.
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At the start of December, I had the opportunity to review the double single Brainstare / Manatorquim by Tasmanian-based ex-pat Kiwi, Steven Hue. At that time, I noted that another three songs would be following shortly, and that, based on the strength of these original two, I was eagerly anticipating what this next batch would have in store.
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28 Jan 2022 // by Jamie Denton
Indie-pop/rock band Floor Five are relative new-comers on the Kiwi music scene. Following up a couple of previous singles (2020’s Overthinking and 2021’s Strawberry Wine), the Wellington based four-piece’s partially crowd-funded EP The Garden was released just as the country returned to the red light setting of the Covid protection framework.
Steven Hue - Double Single Review: Brainstare / Mantorquim
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Stray Theories - Album Review: This Light
07 Oct 2021 // by Jamie Denton
Based in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australian musician/composer Micah Templeton-Wolfe has a long, successful history with crafting works that explore rich, lush melodies within vast ambient, cinematic soundscapes. While some of his works have become the soundtracks to independent short films, television and radio commercials, multimedia projects, art installations, and specifically commissioned sound design or compositional pieces, he has also maintained an interest in releasing material as a musical artist.
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Ex-UK, now Auckland-based DJ/producer, Justin Sanehas a long history in the music industry. He has been releasing music for over 15 years, both within Aotearoa New Zealand and the UK, and has a long list of collaborations with a wide range of artists (including Dane Rumble, Kids in Space, {3Oh!
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View All Articles By Jamie Denton

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