Littoral – Hummel

Hummel is Andy Cummins, originating from Wellington, his first release being a 2001 self-titled album. Specialising in downbeat electronica, contrasting with acoustic guitar and vocals.

He has been variously described as “..musical contrasts with fluid transitions. A token; a watermark; a collage; a correlation. A simple, textural, tonal montage.” .. and so on.

But what you need to know is that this is a great, laid back track, bringing a nice touch of variety and vocals to a world of chillout similarity. The 4-minute journey starts light, and a zesty best starts around one minute in, carrying us through with spaced backing vocals – or backing hums. Somehow it grows into a crashing riff for a second before winding down.

The Boy with the Aubergine Hair – Minuit

Minuit once again. This track is relatively commercial, appearing on the radiowaves of New Zealand even today. It can be found on Minuit’s 2003 release album “The 88“. Lead singer Ruth Carr was diagnosed with cancer while recording “The Guards Themselves”, underwent surgery, then went on a world tour with a new lease on life.

I had the privilege of seeing them live, perhaps no longer possible as in November 2014 they had a “Final Fling” tour. Electronica live can be tricky, but they knew what to do, and blasted it.
Along with their early track “Menace”, “The Boy With the Aubergine Hair” was one of the anthems that launched them.

This track seems so complete, it’s hard to believe after listening that it’s only 3:09 minutes long. Strong vocals carry you through varied music and a satisfying beat. I nice listen, which I wish was longer.
One of those rare tracks where the “radio mix” is equally as good as a qualified lounge music track.

If I gave u th mic – (mt) peace please remix – Sheelahroc

Sheelahroc were formed in Christchurch, NZ in 1999, initially with 8 members from all sorts of ethnic groups. They lasted until 2002, long enough to release this great track. It also launched the vocal powerhouse that is Karoline Tamati, better known as Ladi6 who went on to a stellar solo career. I’ve seen Ladi6 live and it’s a power voice not easily forgotten.

The original “If I gave u th’ mic” is a great track, but possibly not ideal for the lounge music genre. This version however, the (mt) Peace Please Remix, published by Kontrabande Music, changes it’s tone, so that it fits right in.

With a mellow start including nice guitar work, hinting at a slow pace, while still chillout-eligible we are pleasantly tricked into a slightly more upbeat bass line. Ladi6’s strong vocals normally power the track, but with this remix, she takes a back seat and is more of an accompanying vocal, with the music itself taking the main stage as a prime lounge track. Seven enjoyable minutes.

One Word Extinguisher – Prefuse 73

Prefuse 73 .. one of the many aliases of Guillermo Scott Herren, a Florida born musician suffering from an identity crisis, also going by the names of Delarosa & Asora, Ahmad Szabo, Piano Overlord, and part of the groups Savath y Savalas, Sons of the Morning, Risil, and Diamond Watch Wrists.
Starting out as a club DJ, then a hip-hop producer, he wanted to create his own music. The moniker Prefuse 73 first released and album in 2000, then an E.P., this song comes from the third album of the same “One Word Extinguisher” title, released in 2003.

A quirky, funky track with a great beat, devoid of vocals, to raise the mood. Whether Chillout or Midpace is hard to choose as it seems to fit into both tempos, “upbeat chillout”, if there is such a thing. A great tune that stays busy throughout its 4 minute run.