Graham Reid | | 1 min read
This sophisticated, gorgeously produced album by AURA (Albert Mikolaj, with multi-instrumentalist/producer Ben Lemi of Trinity Roots and French for Rabbits) exists between dreamscape sonics on piano, synths etc (Assume Fire), lightly driving radio-friendly pop (Immensely I, the soulful GI Wonder), exotically elevating quasi-ballads (Lady in a Paris Dress) and softly psychedelic ambient music.
Embellished by sounds which evoke cellos, glockenspiels, lightly chiming bells and gongs, there is a yearning and spiritual quality here, and Mikolaj is on record saying a trip to Argentina when he was 19 was the start of a spiritual quest, the music the aural embodiment of it.
It's a gentle and airy-filled journey (the acoustic-framed ballad Nature/Nurture fleshed out by glistening and shimmering guitar) with a reassuring optimism.
There are reference points in acoustic Jose Gonzalez and some of the cinematic artists on Erased Tapes. Dr Simone (“in my mind I'm playing Nina Simone”) is a gentle, probing piece which takes a little deconstructing but is quite enchanting and comes with a soundbite from the great, flawed lady herself.
AURA take this on tour (dates below) with Mikolaj, Lemi, Deanne Krieg (Ida Lune, Congress of Animals) and Samuel Austin.
You won't need earplugs.
A.U.R.A. Secret Intelligent Light Tour
Friday 12th April - Leigh Sawmill, Leigh
Saturday 13th April - Wine Cellar, Auckland
Thursday 2nd May - The Plant, Blenheim
Friday 3rd May - Lyttleton Records, Lyttleton
Saturday 4th May - Captain Cook Hotel, Dunedin
Friday 10th May - Paisley Stage, Napier
Saturday 11th May - Third Eye, Wellington