Mali Mali: I Was Told to Keep An Eye Out (digital outlets)

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Mali Mali: I Was Told to Keep An Eye Out (digital outlets)
Mali Mali is New Zealand songwriter/singer Ben Tolich whose 2016 EP As A Dog Dreams and 2018 album Azimuth met with a very positive reception at Elsewhere, despite us conceding there was a deep emotional intensity to the latter and that Tolich's psyche could be raw and his lyrics perhaps wordy in places.

He tells us that right now he can't obviously promote this new outing, not the least because he tested positive for Covid-19 and after a couple of weeks of aches and no energy is just coming out the other side.

So we wish him well and draw your attention to these nine lyrically penetrating songs, mostly accompanied by elaborate piano figures (the lovely currents behind For the Wisdom to Blossom) and some pieces elevated by a magical, distant production (notably Ceremony for a Key with guitar).

Two Truths and a Lie sounds autobiographical about playing that game while on a typical frustrating tour or performance schedule with other voices part of the texture (“this business is tough, but your music is worthy . . .”)

The opener Some Crime From Way Back When has the refrain, “can anyone ever be just curious, at the end of the line saying, 'Just curious'? “ (about life, death and the whole damn thing).

And Ajar seems to be a brief but deep rumination on self-doubt and outside pressure.

The final piece is a weightless, intimate, six and half minute dreamscape (with rare percussion and odd sonic effects) with a weirdly watchful, outside observer aspect to its blend of electronics, and electric and acoustic instruments.

It is strangely seductive as it dissolves into almost nothing at the Eno-esque midpoint then slowly returns.

Mali Mali/Tolich is very much on a path of his own making.

It's worth the occasional uphill climb at points because he's a fascinating travelling companion with much to say, some existential doubts and questions to impart, and some rather beguiling songs such as Harlequin Bay Rushes here where the multi-tracked vocal gives an unsettling quality to the beauty.

And that is very much the play of opposites on this home-studio album in a cover from a Bill Hammond painting.

Given the lockdown we might hope for more from this source soon again.

You can hear and buy this album (and purchase the limited edition vinyl in the Bill Hammond cover) from the Mali Mali website here

Yeah it will be live on my website/bandcamp page when it comes out:)
Limited edition vinyl with Bill Hammond artwork for people to purchase. 

Here’s the link 

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