Entertainment

Kess’ Cozy Music Corner #13: Ta-Ku

Struggling to find that new artist to fall in love with? Fear not, our contributor Kess Leung is here with the latest and greatest musical recommendations each week. This edition shines a spotlight on doozy Aussie beat-maker Ta-Ku, who’s combining of swirling bass lines with vibrant visual effects have made him a force to be reckoned with in the R&B/Hip-Hop scene.

Since entering into the musical landscape as a self-taught student, Australian artist Regan Mathews, better known under the alias “Ta-Ku”, has quietly assumed a role as one of the most influential and coveted producers of the 2010’s. A fact he owes, in part, to his emotion-evoking and euphonious sound. For anyone looking for a calm and relaxing musical journey, Ta-Ku’s releases will fare well; chilling you to the bone whilst stimulating your mind, heart and soul.

Transporting the listener into a haze-like dream, Baraz’ soulful voice carries a deep sense of longing and paints a vivid love story

Ta-Ku amassed a cult-like following from his complementary albums ‘Songs to Break Up To’, released in 2013, and its successor ‘Songs To Make Up To’, which followed two years later. It was during this time where I began to take notice of him; making the leap from casual listener to fan after the release of Down For You – a scintillating track from the 2015 record featuring Ohio singer/songwriter, Alina Baraz. “Falling for you, I can’t keep away. Are you listening?/ I want you to stay before you go, I want you to know that I’m down/ Down for you, for you, for you, for you”, he lulls. Transporting the listener into a haze-like dream, Baraz’ soulful voice carries a deep sense of longing and paints a vivid love story.

The instrumental is at once complex and effortless, with each layer seemingly stripped down bare before coming together in perfect harmony and producing a deeply surreal listening experience. A gentle piano backing and occasional hi-hat elevate the singer’s rich and melodious voice, and almost like a strong current of water that flows peacefully, help to illuminate the song’s overwhelming sense of calmness and zen.

A rendition of Estelle’s famed hit American Boy, marked his first artistic debut – proving him to be talented at both sides of the coin

Since his debut, Ta-Ku tended to stay by the sidelines; never straying far from producing for featuring artists rather than recording. American Girl, a rendition of Estelle’s famed hit American Boy, marked his first artistic debut – proving him to be talented at both sides of the coin. Featuring his close friend and fellow artist Wafia, the track begins smoothly with a chill flow, before Ta-Ku lends his rich voice to the first verse and chorus. “Hey sister, really really nice to meet you”, he saunters, “I just met a 5 foot something girl who’s just my type.” Portraying the role of the guy in the conversation-like track, the next verse transitions into a different perspective, with Wafia portraying the feminine part. “When we get away this weekend, take me to Broadway/ Let’s go shopping baby then we’ll go to a café/ Let’s go on the subway, take me to your ‘hood/ I’ve never been to Brooklyn and I’d like to see what’s good.” The heavy bass contrasts with the gentle piano backing – producing an impactful beat that complements the duo-vocals well whilst allowing the two to trade cadences at ease. Wafia’s wispy notes are a highlight on the track, pleasantly surprising me as he was an unknown artist to me at the time.

Signifying the relationship with their fathers, the two lay themselves bare; exposing a vulnerability that is achingly raw

Since the release of American Girl, Ta-Ku has proceeded to step into the limelight; continuously experimenting with his voice and sound. The 2016 EP ‘(m)edian’ was a collaborative 5-song project with Wafia, who has since become a well-distinguished artist in her own name. Signifying the relationships with their fathers, the two lay themselves bare; exposing a vulnerability that is achingly raw. The track Meet in the Middle, is a perfect blend of emotions dictating the surreal take on love, compromise and turmoil that can be an almost therapeutic experience for some. The artists’ vocals weave through the complex relationship web, and tackle complicated emotions with dazzling ease – “People have opinions, doesn’t mean I have to listen/ There’s something ’bout you that gets me compromising/ Don’t speak your language, I’d be fluent in the morning”.

Expressing dazzling musical versatility, the 2018 release of ‘25 Nights of Nujabes’, an instrumental record, is nothing short of exceptional. As Ta-Ku continues to deliver high quality productions, the recognition of his talents follow suit. It is no wonder many fans, including myself, have been eagerly awaiting his next release.

Kess Leung

Featured image courtesy of Paul Hudson via Flickr. Image use licence here. No changes made to this image. 

Article image courtesy of @takubeats via Instagram. No changes made to this image. 

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