Ariana Tikao: From Dust to Light (Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Ariana Tikao: Oxygenated
Ariana Tikao: From Dust to Light (Ode)

The much acclaimed Tikao presents a pleasant style which might be called te reo-folk as it has its roots in the Maori language and tikanga but is equally at home with the acoustic guitar folk tradition.

On this, her third album, the music is light, stripped back and simple, reverts to the customary reggae lope in a couple of places and . . .

And to these ears anyway, barely grips with songs which appear to have greater depth and meaning than they present. To get that dimension you need to read the liner notes about what prompted them. That is a failing.

Espresso for example -- a slight, jaunty piece with ambiguous lyrics -- is about her coffee addiction (doesn't sound like it) and a friend who took her own life in 2003 (again, that isn't evident unless a reference to tears is all that need be said).

In other places the lyrics don't seem to make much sense: "Like a fundamental truth I must go" on Oxygenated about lovely landscapes she has encountered. Do fundamental truths "go"? I would think the opposite.

There is no doubting her sincerity on songs like Te Heke, Something to Give and Let There Be Light (the latter dedicated to the people of Christchurch)  but despite interesting and discreet musical embellishments (taonga puoro, electronics, bird song, violin) and her pure vocals, these songs rarely rouse themselves from the same sensitive frequency and the melodies are constrained. The backings do all the work in making them discrete.

It is very nice and undeniably pleasant, unequivocally worthy and well intentioned, and often quite beautiful. But -- aside from Te Haeata, Ka Roimata and the whispery mood piece Purveyor of Light -- very little here is as moving as I think it was intended to be.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Blair Jollands (interviewed in 2004 here) is one of New Zealand's best-kept expat secrets. With his band El Hula he crafted some of the... > Read more

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

You can't say you weren't warned. A couple of years back when he released his '02' album Elsewhere said you'd be hearing more of this human beat-box, one-man foot-stompin' blues band which is Ben... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

MURRAY McNABB (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

MURRAY McNABB (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

The plan would have been timely: a concert acknowledging the half century he'd known and played in bands with drummer Frank Gibson. But then everything changed. “They gave me a year,... > Read more

TOY LOVE: PULL DOWN THE SHADES (Real Groovy DVD)

TOY LOVE: PULL DOWN THE SHADES (Real Groovy DVD)

Anyone still wondering why all the fuss over thirtysomething years gone Toy Love -- the legacy award induction, double albums on vinyl, one of which has been the first New Zealand vinyl album to... > Read more