From 2009-2016, New Zealand group Electric Wire hustle led the way for underground soul, with three albums and six EPs that proved the genre could sound tough but feel sensitive. Their significance still remains under-played today but the return of frontman Mara TK will be a welcome reminder for the old faithful and a chance for a new generation of soul heads to get acquainted with one of the greats of its time.
While Mara has made a number of featuring appearances as a solo artist since EWH’s disbanding, he’s yet to present a significant solo body of work. Today he puts an end to that, with the announcement of a new single and his signing to Extra Soul Perception (ESP.) for his debut album early next year.
‘Met At The River’ is a three-part odyssey, composed, sung and produced all by Mara, showing his flair for complex songwriting and unconventional arrangement. While it was originally written as a solo track, Mara’s signing to a label underscored by collaboration led to a link up with Nairobi singer Xenia Manasseh who featured on ‘Probably Never‘ with Maxwell Owin on their debut release in June and since then was also in the songwriting credits for Teyona Taylor’s – The Album. Gracefully in sync on their first attempt working together, their duet with Mara’s original lyrics falls somewhere between Frank Ocean’s most tender moments and Rhye.
Mara explains about the track: “This song took ten years to write because that was the life span of meeting someone wonderful, making babies and then fucking it all up – and finally feeling like you are all gonna be straight after all that shit. This song was therapy that didn’t cost me $200 an hour”.
The double single is accompanied by a video, Premiered on STW, directed by Hugo Inglis & Ollie Inglis who have extrapolated the neon theme that runs through single artwork by Ross Gunter. Furthering the collaborative spirit, Kampala producer and dancer Faizal Mostrix returns to ESP after his contribution to New Tangents Vol. 1, playing the video’s central role with an improvised routine.
Hugo and Ollie explain about the video: “We loved the idea of visualising the beats and melodies of the music in bright neon. We felt this captured the mood of the track and would draw the visual elements together nicely. It was great experimenting with the different compositions and effects on the clips. We took inspiration from Ross Gunter’s amazing artwork to build a dream-like visual that would capture the spirit of the track.”
Met At The River is out 20th November – buy from Bandcamp.