New Zealand’s Jordan Rakei has enjoyed a rapid ascension into the spotlight since he first moved to London in 2015. Having released debut EP Franklin’s Room in 2013 from the confines of his Brisbane bedroom studio, he began to garner an influential following. Moving to the UK to widen his creative horizons, following his first label-released EP, 2014’s Groove Curse, Rakei soon linked up with the likes of Taku, FKJ and Disclosure, featuring on the latter’s 2015 album Caracal.
His debut LP, Cloak, released last year, was a polished offering of non-quantised, soul-swinging numbers, showcasing a songwriter who had fully established himself beyond the ‘bedroom producer’ label. Tracks like ‘Tawo’ and ‘Lost Myself’ effortlessly combined polyrhythmic jazz sensibilities with the warmth of live studio instrumentation, leaving space for Rakei’s gentle falsetto to speak his emotive message direct to the listener. Now, having signed to Ninja Tune, Rakei is set to release his second LP, Wallflower.
With the move to a larger label comes a grander sound on Wallflower. Yet, a richness of instrumentation doesn’t necessarily translate to dynamic intensity, instead Rakei employs his vocal harmonies and multifaceted arrangements in the service of a quiet, soulful significance. Opener ‘Eye To Eye’ sets the scene with its soft acoustic guitar and vocal slowly ascending into an ominously jarring chorus, subverting listener expectations for a continuation of the breezy soul sound established on Rakei’s EP releases.
Read the rest of the review in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 19/09/17]