I’ve always known the Australian music scene to be incredible, especially in recent years. Hiatus Kaiyote, Sampology, Variations of Light, Clever Austin, 30/70, Tiana Khasi… the list goes on and on. Melbourne in particular has been a melting pot of cultures and influences, and I’m finally glad that we have a wonderful compilation album to celebrate the hypnotic, beautiful, awe-inspiring jazz and neo-soul music that is originating from that part of the world.
Recorded over a week at The Grove, a fabled house-turned studio in the North Melbourne suburb of Coburg, nine of the most talented and wonderful musicians from the city got together to create. The result is Sunny Side Up, a beautiful 9-track compilation album that beautifully represents the inspiring, spiritual and mesmeric aura of the city. Phil Stroud kicks off this album with a lush and layered piece titled “Banksia,” with gorgeous, layered seys, synths and stunning horns that are just beautifullt arranged. “Pick Up / Galaxy” by Dufresne is a high-paced, funk-filled track with energetic drums, guitar and bass leads that give such a groovy tone to the track, as it meanders throughout keys and vocals, especially near the end of the track. Kuzich‘s stunning piece “There Is No Time” is slow-paced and spiritual, with percussion and keys throughout, being complemented by off-kilter vocals that sound fantastic. “Bleeding Hearts” sees Audrey Powne sing her heart out to a beautiful piano arrangement that breaks into saxophone leads and drums. Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange’s “Powers 2 (The People)” is a frantic, flute and key dominant track, with frantic drumming and an intensity that is infectious. Laneous‘ brilliantly colourful vocals are complemented by energetic drumming and guitar leads that are so soulful and beautiful. Silentjay’s “Eternal / Internal Peace” is incredible, as the stunning piano arrangements are complemented by vocal harmonies, as well as trumpet and saxophone leads and subtle guitars. It’s an incredible track. Horatio Luna comes through with a dance-heavy vibe on “The Wake-Up,” with bass notes that bring the funk and hypnotic grooves, as well as drumming that keeps the energy and groove to a maximum. Allysha Joy’s contribution “Orbit” is amazing as well, with horns and keys being complemented by subtle guitars and drums, giving this track a stunning, spiritual tone. Her profound and stunning vocals are incredibly soulful, making it a perfect way to end this album.
The amount of beautiful, awe-inspiring and spiritual compositions on this compilation album make it one of my favourite releases of the year. The energy and musical diversity of this richly textured project make it a phenomenal listen, and I just keep looking forward to more music from that part of the world. Big ups Gilles Peterson and Alexander Intas for making this happen. Thank You Brownswood and everyone involved in the music, you guys killed it!
Listen to Sunny Side Up below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released through Brownswood Recordings.