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Seven piece hip-hop/jazz outfit Koi Child pull together on their debut LP to provide funky bass lines, jazz chords and clever raps proving that Australia’s hip-hop scene is alive and thriving. The self-titled release Koi Child is packed full of mad instrumental jams that will have you boppin’ around and singing along to front man Cruz Patterson’s rad hooks.
Recorded at Mangebong, an island south of Perth, it’s easy to understand why this is such a chill-yet-banger of an album. Keys player, Tom Kenny, makes all other musicians (or at least me) envious of the recording process describing how the “shack-turned-recording studio made for a really nice vibe: swimming in the river, recording vocals in the kitchen, sinking an ungodly amount of tinnies and encounters with giant weirdo spiders.”
Not only this, but they got Kevin Parker (i.e. Tame Impala) on board as producer who’s “mixing brought so much life and glow to tracks”. Kenny reckons they’ll “be forever indebted to him for being so generous with his time, creativity and talent... what a bloke.” And what a bloke indeed. It’s so great seeing bigger acts help out smaller artists in such a way, it really shows what a friendly, communal scene we have in Australia.
Koi Child is packed full of solid tracks and the best example of this, and probably the catchiest is the first single, Black Panda. The verses are pushed along by a bass line that will stick in your head all day while Patterson does some speedy spitting over the top. Then just as you’re getting into the flow the beat changes as it comes in with the danciest latin piano line reminiscent of something by The Cat Empire.
Also with this latin jazz vibe is the song Preserve which shows off some of the best composing on the album. The drums are amazing. The keys are crazy. And the horns are wild, throwing licks all over the place. Cruzy P is a favourite on the album because it perfectly shows off Cruzy’s MC skills. He approaches rap with a very old school hip-hop style that is a refreshing take on modern rap. His style is reminiscent of New York rapper Wiki and his work with Ratking (a collab I’d like to see).
Before listening to this album I’d never heard Koi Child before, but I know now I was missing out. If you’ve haven’t given them a proper listen, do it now. They’re a solid band who know their musicology and it shows. I would imagine their live performances would be banging and full of non-stop dancing, so I can’t wait till their national tour this March/April. Until then I’m gonna sit back in the afternoon, crack a beer and give Koi Child another listen.
Check out Koi Child on our list of best new Australian bands in 2016.
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