Album Review: Tiki Taane
In his 11 years heading the veteran Kiwi outfit, Salmonella Dub, Tiki Taane had the chance to be exposed to huge amounts of music.
His first solo album, ‘Past, Present, Future’, is a fittingly eclectic blend of all those styles, from traditional islander instruments to turntable sampling, R&B vocals and dub beats. The return to ethnic origins is a crucial aspect of the album and is flagged clearly from the start, with the atmospheric Maori flute instrumental of ‘Whakapuaki’ giving way to Maori spoken word, and then to the muscular warrior chant of ‘Tangaroa’.
‘Our Favourite Target’ offers a sumptuous beat and Julie Deans’s sexy Shirley Bassey vocals. ‘Saviour Dub’ isn’t breaking new ground with “burning fire, fire, fire-uh-uh-oh”, but it has an infectiously danceable beat and that unquantifiable ability to put a smile on your face.
The close-down of ‘Past Present Future’, though, is another matter altogether. It starts with the title track’s slow concoction of strings and traditional chanting. ‘It's All In Your Head’ is a gorgeous, melancholy slab of Groove Armada-styled smoothness, which fades into ‘Tainui Waka’, an eight-minute epic islander dub. This final sequence confirms the feeling that the record is a strong musical offering. The real strength is in the traditional and chilled-out tracks that Taane employs to such good effect.
Tiki Taane 'Past, Present, Future' is out now on Shock Records