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MOHI - Album Review: Elements of Aroha

26 Nov 2023 // A review by Danica Bryant

MOHI is a bilingual artist, bending music and language to bear his soul. His new album Elements of Aroha circles its recurring motif of love as a force of nature, connecting people to the land in a tranquil musical journey.

Opening track Karearea boasts a smooth and undeniable hook. Its chorus cycles over the simple, catchy line, "I wanna be what you want, I wanna be what you need", backdropped by warbling synths and percussive clicks. This laidback sound extends to much of the collection, solidifying a signature artistic brand for MOHI without boxing him in too tightly. Powhiwhi evidences this, a sultry collaboration with Aja that takes R&B melodies and romance and melds them to fluttering digital production.

Purea opts for a more pop-leaning sound, the most upbeat on the record. A groovy bass lick grounds the track, as MOHI delivers a vocal performance that is at first smokey and low, then joyous and open in the chorus. Affected vocal chops further the punchy commercial style. This is a track devoted to returning to whanau and sacred whenua, and its nostalgic, radio-friendly sound emphasises the beautiful bicultural identity of Aotearoa, exemplified by the funky instrumental solo serving as a bridge. 

Elements of Aroha is separated into two halves by the spoken word interlude Aroha - He Ruri, a title track of sorts. MOHI delivers a commanding speech before the song dissolves into pure, ethereal soundscapes, and the repeating phrase, "that is love". It's an excellent example that whilst MOHI delivers on all fronts, from instrumental to lyrical, the bottom line is that his music is all about the feeling.

Me Pehea Ra shares its title with another popular waiata, but takes a slower, calmer approach to its predecessor, sold by MOHI's committed vocals. 'Cycle' is the album's other standout potential hit. Its looping soundscape is hazy and cool, comparing a relationship to nature's fated course of passing weather and changing ocean tides. It's all tied up seamlessly into a tight eight-track triumph by the finale Come On Home, where Maori chants and an English chorus invoke the feeling of MOHI singing alongside his people, past, present and future.

There's something for everyone on this stunning collection by MOHI, an artist who puts his full heart into everything he does. If you're seeking a Kiwi album to sit back and relax to, Elements of Aroha will certainly answer your call, but it unveils deeper meaning and satisfaction the more involved your listening experience is, which is perhaps the highest in musical praise.


About MOHI

Experience the exhilarating fusion of ancient taonga and urban sounds with MOHI, a dynamic 7-piece Maori Neosoul, Pop, Funk band. Prepare to be captivated as they take the stage, immersing you in a sonic journey like no other. With their infectious grooves, soulful vocals, and electrifying energy, MOHI effortlessly blends traditional Maori elements with contemporary urban music. His latest reo rua (bilingual) EP project will be on full display along with hits like Te Aroha Mauroa, Jasmine and Te Atarau, creating an exhilarating and soul-stirring show.

Be prepared to dance, sing along, and connect with the powerful spirit of Maori arts and culture, as MOHI transports you to a world where tradition meets modernity in a breathtaking musical experience.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for MOHI


Elements of Aroha
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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