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

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

The Chemical Brothers: Further (Parlophone)

And in this further installment, our heroes effect a blend of Barrett-era Floyd (given a techno twist) and Baba O'Reilly-meets-Pseudo Echo (on the soundstage of Bladerunner) then set their control... > Read more

Various artists: Apple compilation (EMI)

Various artists: Apple compilation (EMI)

This double disc through JB Hi-Fi stores was previously only available in the enormously expensive 17 CD collection of artists signed to the Beatles' Apple Records (Badfinger, James Taylor,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Beef stir-fry with peppers by Womad 2014 guest Abundance Mutori of Mokoomba

Beef stir-fry with peppers by Womad 2014 guest Abundance Mutori of Mokoomba

Bassist Abundance Mutori of the Zimbabwean band Mokoomba is bound to brew up a musical stew when the band play at Womad in March (dates below), but he's also happy to offer this, the recipe for a... > Read more

GUEST MUSICIAN AND VIDEOMAKER STEFAN WOLF shares his hometown stories and friends

GUEST MUSICIAN AND VIDEOMAKER STEFAN WOLF shares his hometown stories and friends

Paekakariki, a village of just over a thousand people north of Wellington, is one of those rare places that attracts the creative.  Like moths to the flame they come here -  painters,... > Read more