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Levi Patel - EP Review: Jeremy Redmore & Levi Patel - Migrations

10 Oct 2023 // A review by Tom Langdale-Hunt

Jeremy Redmore is one of the most recognizable voices in NZ music of the last decade, in part thanks to his tenure as the singer and main writer of a little local band called Midnight Youth but has since evolved into an extremely distinctive and transposed independent solo artist. Partnering with Levi Patel, one of Aotearoa’s budding composers/producers, they have crafted the Migrations EP to be a short burst of remarkably gentle and captivating exploration that will stand apart to their other works, but still demonstrate their distinctive emotional intensity.

Distance presents itself as a casualty in the opening track Worlds Apart. Highlighted by the emptiness that surrounds the simple instrumentation, Jeremy and Levi make the most of the tender quiet that lays the track bare. This direction is very representative of Levi's lane in modern classical composition, which embraces Jeremy's warm, emotive vocals in this unlikely pairing. There is no percussion, just a tender ambience through synths and guitar lines that dance and fall away into each other in compliments to the pacing of the lyrics.

The verse lines drag, as if to accentuate the themes of the piece, picking up the phrasing in the pre-chorus, then swelling with the instruments into a chorus of hard-hitting lines, specifically “You and I, worlds apart. What Would you give to go back to the start?” then receding to the intro guitar lines. 

The character of the song is an ideal herald for the entire EP, stating an essence of both uplifting bliss and sorrowful yearning within the expanse of distance, physical or other.

To contrast the opening track, Love Will Come Your Way is a rhythmic illustration of hope and a desire to heal. To me, this is a great showcase of lyrical phrasing, turning lines that do not seem obvious in where they end, into a beautiful cascade of words that appear as a frantic observation of a serpentine relationship through the eyes of a third-party.

The lyrics themselves are visual and thought-provoking, creating a narrative through literal and metaphorical lines. “It’s another new beginning but this time things are different. He can swear that he’s changed, that he’s flicked another switch and if the lights are left low ‘kiss me on the lips, I wanna watch ya when I touch ya, see exactly where both your hands are’” stand out, framing the themes of the song.

The soft backing vocals of the tracks featuring Avya wrap the catchy chorus “just remember that one day, love will come your way” with a feminine character that aid the mantra to stand out further. It’s a hook that stayed with me even after the first listen.

The closing track, Zero Gravity, is a gentle finale that, once again, refrains from the cluster of various instruments and instead sits in the apt and thematic space of its starkness.

A slow piano arpeggio plays as an atmosphere of vocal harmonies, panning and awash in reverb, become more prevalent and appear almost as thoughts, dancing around a lone piano and voice. Again, with the lack of rhythm, Jeremy and Levi utilize the songs drag with the vocals. The lyrics are short – a fraction of the almost rap-length lines of its predecessor, and yet, they keep their potent imagery and weight with lines like “What are the chances, our eyes would meet when the world hit zero gravity? And we each happened to step the opposite way seconds before our feet left the floor. Powerless, I can’t guess how it ends.”

In line with their prior individual work, it is a very reflective piece that indulges us in potentially esoteric metaphors, but in a way, this serves the ambiguity of the song’s questions, and to great effect. It's worth saying that the closing track is very evocative in its character. It's hard not to think of similar tracks - perhaps unfairly. The structure, melodies, pondering lyrics, even the placement of the 7 chords, prompts me to think of Coldplay’s What If (really, really good Coldplay), however Jeremy and Levi abstain from the temptation of building the song into an epic crescendo that most artists (especially Coldplay) would fashion in their closing piece. Instead, they are confident to allow the finale to stay relatively unclad.

An artist's willingness to explore new sounds and sonic landscape is a pivotal part of their journey. Such shifts can be a great signal of growth and is very indicative of where they are professionally, and indeed emotionally, while challenging them to retain what keeps them distinctive in the first place.

The Migrations EP is a very brief, but sturdy addition to an already accomplished discography for both composers. It leaves me enthusiastic and curious as to what direction future music and collaborations may take, which ultimately, is all part of the fun of it.

 

About Levi Patel

With four solo records released to glowing reception, New Zealand’s Levi Patel is finding his standing as one of the country's most promising composers. The 28-year-old holds a passion for crafting musical pieces that delicately reflect an emotional intensity that is both gentle and captivating.

Levi has a fascination with sound and the production process, which has encouraged him to pave his own compositional path. His passion for arrangement echoes throughout the diversity of his work. From intimate, solo piano to expansive and climactic soundscapes formed of layered voices and strings, Levi’s music has an encapsulating quality that speaks across his varied releases.

Levi's journey properly took flight in 2014 with his self-released EP Forms, which was closely followed by second EP Of Sleep and Time, the spiritual home to much-loved composition As she passes, which has received well over 10 million streams across Soundcloud and Spotify. Levi released his debut full-length album Affinity in 2017 to further positive reception and is currently preparing for the release of his next album.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Levi Patel

Releases

A Shifting Lightness
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Affinity
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Of Sleep And Time
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Forms
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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