Munashe - Wide Awake Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza

This post is not about the video. New Zealand musicians are budget-challenged. Crime Heat has done what he can within the usual restrictions, and it works. He is a very good director (and beats producer). No, this post is about an exciting new artist...a musically-talented, lyrically gifted MC with an ear for a hook that suggests massive potential. A member of the Ammo Nation collective, Munashe (Munashe Tuwe) is a precociously-talented teenager whose "1st Impression" album released late last year  is one of the most exuberantly assured local debuts I have heard. We all know it would have been made on a shoe-string, and there are production aspects that hint at those limitations. But despite that, it is superb. Munashe is from Zimbabwe, currently living in West Auckland, and the stress of a family moving countries, being permanently away from a troubled home/continent makes for great raw material for a songwriter. And Munashe doesn't waste it. The album is a combination of bravado, satire, romance, and acute socio-political insights that belie his age. Munashe cites influences such as Nas, Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, J Cole and Erykah Badu. Though the two influences he cites that I see as most relevant here are Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco. There is also indirect artistic reference to the historical body of work we associate with old RnB such as Rod Temperton, the Jacksons etc. "Wide Awake" features Raiza Biza, a personal hip-hop favourite seen many times on this blog (and who discovered Munashe), and Blaze the Emperor who slinks in midway through the song with a sorta-laid-back style that has me looking up more of his work. Courtesy the immigration from Africa of the last twenty years, New Zealand music is benefitting from an African wave which is further enhancing New Zealand's reputation as punching above it's weight in the world of hip-hop. I have bought "1st Impression" and it has been on high-rotate as I navigate the streets of London. If handled right, I truly believe Munashe's career could be massive. You can listen to, and buy the album, at the link below.

Munashe - Wide Awake (Ft. Blaze The Emperor & Raiza Biza) (Official Music Video)

There's too much - P & S

This video may be a challenge to some readers, but it demanded a post. A brilliant interweaving of stark, disturbing aural texture with striking imagery, "P & S" is the work of two Tokyo-based Kiwis, Bryce Eden (There's too much) and director, Chris Fitzgerald. Chris is an art school alumni who has been working with Bryce for a little time now. Having spent much of the last couple of years between London and Tokyo, Bryce has come up with his new EP, "there's too much for". He describes his music as "my own style of computer pop set amongst dark landscapes",and as capturing a "running theme of psychological something's and paranoia". "P & S" doesn't make that difficult to understand. The EP, which was mixed by Ben Gibson, can be bought at the link below. Go have a listen. I have bought it.

There's too much - P & S

Sherpa - Love Film

Pristine pop songs, cleverly, and delicately constructed...and despite a sometimes sorta-intellectual approach to their construction, there's nothing too contrived about it. Is it wrong to call it "fun"? I was looking forward to Sherpa's new album (which is available to listen to at the link before), and they have delivered. "Love Film", the first single, was released last year. I am not quite sure how this glamorous little film didn't make it onto the blog. But it has now - sorry! Directed by Marc Swadel, it takes us on a trip through Paris of 1962, with our starlet besotted by a slightly effete, but clearly charming young director. The album sounds like much love has gone into it - close to a work of art - hence the blog post. "Love Film" is a goodie, but I also like "Bzzy", "Can Surreal" and "Eclypse The Night Away" and "Not Today". Go have a listen at the NZ Herald link below while it is still up. The album should be released by the weekend I believe (May 16). Otherwise, there are a bunch of other links you can use to swot up on this charming band. (I love the break and the outro in "Love Film" by the way...especially the outro.)

"Blues and Oranges" album stream:

Get "Love Film" here:

Like the band:

Band website:

Sherpa - Love Film

Aldous Harding - Hunter

Aldous Harding has generated quite a bit of industry noise over the last couple of months or so...with "Hunter" being one of the reasons, although I think her exquisite (and video-less) track "No Peace" (linked below) might just be driving more of the momentum. It is stunning. With both a vocal and visual presence, all that was needed were truly special songs to help this artist have a shot at international success...and it is all there. It will be interesting to see whether international distribution deals turn up quickly. I think they will. Aldous (real name Hannah Harding) is currently distributed locally through Lyttleton Records. I am not sure when the new album will be released, but you can listen to some of it at the link below. The album was produced by Lyttleton Records' Ben Edwards, and Marlon Williams. The "Hunter" video, beautifully done, was directed and photographed by Julian Vares.

Why not have a read of this while you are at it. It has the link to "No Peace":

A Radio NZ interview link is here:

Aldous Harding | HUNTER | Music Video 2014