‘Lamentations’ is the debut album from future folk/soul artist Ngaiire (pron nyrie) who stands on the JJJ’s 2010 Next Crop list alongside Kimbra, Lanie Lane, and The Jezabels . The Australian singer/songwriter is building a reputation for herself as one of the country’s most unique and dynamic vocalists and performers. Moving to Sydney after a brief stint studying for a Jazz degree at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Ngaiire embarked on a long period of touring overseas and in Australia with roots collective Blue King Brown, and mentor and electronic icon Paul Mac. Years later the need to focus on her own pursuits caused Ngaiire to quit the road and settle back in Sydney where she could discover and build herself as an artist.
Adventuring through a long musical journey of discovery from folk soul to jazz hop to indie pop to everything in between, Ngaiire has finally settled on an eclectic sonic identity that is uniquely hers, and with great delivery, reflected through her long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album, ‘Lamentations’.
‘Lamentations’ is a collection of songs or more so, laments, written between her Sydney home and a tiny Japanese drinking bar called Bar Noah located in the sleepy suburb of Ekoda on the outskirts of Tokyo. During the days, Noah was transformed into a writing space for her and Japan based collaborator, pianist and beat maker Aaron Choulai. Come evening, the bar opened for business and Ngaiire would find herself knee deep in Japanese potato wine and the obscure musical tastes of bar owner and house DJ, Hajime, adding further late night inspiration to her writing hiatus. The title of the album spurs from one of her favourite compositions ‘Dido’s Lament’ written by English Baroque composer Henry Purcell performed in his opera Dido and Aeneas, a mythological love tragedy between a Trojan hero Aeneas and Dido, Queen of Carthage. It was also inspired from the Biblical and poetic book of Lamentations mourning the destructive fall of Jerusalem. Both situations were found to reflect Ngaiire’s persuasion of writing, shedding light on her attraction to the dark beauty of the melancholic.
Returning back to Sydney with salubrious additions to the album, ‘Lamentations’ became a joined production effort between Aaron, Sydney bassist Tim Curnick and herself. Partly tracking the album in Tim’s parent’s beach shack in Jervis Bay with her band as well as various studios in Sydney, she enlisted the help of mixing virtuoso, Chris Townend (Portishead, Silverchair, Violent Femmes) spending considerable time locked up in his Tasmanian mountain mixing shack sculpting each song to its’ full potential.
‘Lamentations’, evoking elements of Sbtrkt, Little Dragon and The Dirty Projectors, will indelibly showcase Ngaiire’s great attention to vocal detail and layering, her lyrical intelligence as well as her love for musical aesthetics, Aaron’s unique electronic glitch and piano work and Tim’s production mastery of balancing out the live and electronic components of Ngaiire’s music.
The first single off ‘Lamentations’ entitled, ‘Dirty Hercules’ released March 1st demonstrated all the above; a fierce offering setting Ngaiire apart from other singers with her peculiar vocal arrangements and rare sense of soul reminiscent of vocal greats gone by. Featuring friend and Future – Soul darling ‘Nai Palm’ of Melbourne band Hiatus Kaiyote, Nai adds an additional depth that charters bottomless profundities exclusively championed by Questlove, Erykah Badu to Gilles Peterson. Her second single ‘Around’ released May 24th further reflected her distinctive writing style with Aaron and Tim’s unique less is more approach to production. ‘Around’ quickly went viral and receives 1000 unsponsored hits a day on Soundcloud. A commanding entry into the music word, there is no doubt ‘Lamentations’ will put a flag in the ground as Ngaiire’s official arrival.
‘Dirty Hercules’ is at once the flamboyant sound of the future – Beat Magazine (on ‘Dirty Hercules’ single)
“Yes, yes, yes!!! It’s so great to hear neo-soul or should we say future-folk/soul finally being written and produced here in Australia on an international level” – Tone Deaf
“She has blossomed into on of the most interesting artists this country has to offer” – Paul Mac
‘Already a highlight of 2013 local releases’- Faster & Louder (on ‘Lamentations’)
‘So good I know that I’ll still be listening to it in five, ten, twenty years time’ – It’s My Kind of Scene (on ‘Lamentations’)