7 Jul 2022

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Malachim - Album Review: Vitasphere

05 Sep 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

I was sat working away at my desk one evening recently, when I had a message come through from TeMatera Smith, asking if I would be interested in hearing a brand-new album which he had literally just finished mixing. Of course, I said yes, and he provided me with a Soundcloud link to this release, which immediately blew me away. My mind was further damaged when it transpired that this is a solo release from TeMatera himself. These days TeMatera is most widely known as a producer for the likes of Troy Kingi, as well as running AAA Records and Red Room Studios. However, it needs to be remembered that he started his career as a guitarist, was a member of the Sony-signed Sundog in the UK, while in NZ he was guitarist and singer in The Symphony of Screams who as well as releasing some wonderful albums were also the highest ranked local support act at Rock2Wgtn 2008 where they played on both nights, supporting the likes of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see TSOS play a few times, and always enjoyed the sheer power and might of their grunge metal approach, so if someone had told me that TeMatera had recorded a new album I would have expected something similar. In fairness, TeMatera has been involved with many NZ artists over the years, mentoring, guiding, recording, producing etc, and very few of these are actually metallic in any way whatsoever, but I did not expect something which is ambient, New Age, and deeply compelling. TeMatera says, “Each track written in the key of its associated astral sign. Made with the intention to align and bring into presence the listener, aiding concentration, meditation, and sleep.”

His star sign is Scorpio, which is in C, while mine is Taurus and is in A, but while each song is in a different key, they are all bound together by the same ambient tranquility and presence which makes this such a compelling and incredibly deep piece of work. It is music you can fall into like a deep pool, looking up and seeing the layers, hearing the sounds of the water as you drift to the bottom with the air slowly escaping from your lungs... There is a need to play this on headphones, or very loudly in a room where there are no distractions whatsoever, as this takes over the senses, moving the brain into new directions. In that respect it totally achieves what TeMatera wanted; there is a deepness and contemplation within, with elements of Leo being almost whalelike. There is never any rushing in any of this, rather every note is taken in deliberate steps, with forethought present in everything that is happening. One may not know where the path is going to lead, but it has been carefully constructed and we are being led in a manner we just do not understand.

There is a solidity to this, a physical form which is much stronger than many music I hear in this style, and the result is a constrained and restrained power. There is never a threat or edge, rather that we are being taken on a journey which we need to complete. This is powerful indeed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Sonic Delusion - Single/Video Review: Fingertips
06 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to come across the incredible album When Turkeys Fly by Turkey The Bird which meant I was determined to see them when they came to Auckland and had an amazing evening. One member of that trio is André Manella, who has also been touring as Sonic Delusion, and over the last eight years he has played more than 800 shows and released five albums.
Gig Review: T-Bone @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 03/07/2022
03 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Down to Tuning Fork for an early start with doors opening at 5:30 and the whole thing expected to be over by 9:30! I was so glad that Al from Hoop sent me the running times in the morning otherwise I would have missed their set altogether as well as possibly missing the beginning of T-Bone!
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What we have here is the debut collaboration from Ange.Mac and Shaun Garea.
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02 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tonight, I was supposed to be at The Tuning Fork for Ekko Park and Jordan Luck but the dreaded Covid had cast its spell and the gig was cancelled earlier in the week. I did a quick check to see what was on at Dead Witch and discovered there was a four-band bill and knowing three of them I could see it was going to be a good night so decided to head that way.
Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Say To Me
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Normally, when I am reviewing singles for MNZ the turnaround time we work to is 7 days and it is not unusual for me to work on far tighter deadlines than that, but Ayla was incredibly well organised with the promotion for her second single, and I have been playing this for the last 3 weeks at least. In that time it has become a real earworm, and I have even found myself singing it as I walk around (not a pleasant experience for anyone in the vicinity, let me assure you).
Ed Waaka - Single Review: E Kura
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It did not take long for me to fall in love with this song, probably the first 30 seconds I guess, as there is something about it which grabs hold the listener, puts them in a safe place, and lets the singer bare their soul. Soul, yes, this is full of it in a musical sense as well as an emotional one, and when I discovered he was singing about the upcoming birth of his first daughter, whether he would be a good father, and the need to reconnect to his Maori heritage it made a great deal of sense.
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Here we have the lead single from Danica Bryant’s forthcoming EP, Ego Death, and if this is fully representative, then that is something to look out for. For a young artist she has already had considerable success, mentoring with Bic Runga while also gaining a support slot for Elton John on his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and while she has already tasted success on the NZ Hot Singles Chart, I am sure this is going to head the same way.
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View All Articles By Kev Rowland

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