Jordan Rakei certainly brings one of the most experimental sounds to the Are We Live collective. He is an amazing addition from New Zealand to an otherwise Londoner-exclusive club. Barney Artist and Tom Misch had their time to shine around here somewhere. The spotlight is slowly making its way to Alfa Mist.
He was touring and promoting his third album Origin to venues big and small, such as little old Rough Trade East. The intimate venue was a perfect setting for us to be taken on his personal exploration of his struggles with anxiety, mental health and introversion.
His instrumental and production mastery weaved us a unique sound wrapped in multiple layers of complexity. Silky material that tantalised my senses and mended my emotions in a techno-infused jazzy trip hop landscape. I was in awe of the synths, keys, strings and immersive harmonic melodies in various amount of measure in each piece.
Massive music machines and the drum kit took up the most of the tight stage. The guitarist was barely able to squeeze in to his left, and the drummer on his right. Jordan played and looped segments live all while singing. I have yet to introduce my left hand to the piano…
Debuts and intimate gigs in record stores are a fantastic opportunity to get a closer look at artists. They test out provisional sets before releasing them onto a bigger stage, boosting their CD and LP sales all while being able to meet their fans and leaving them a signed memento. It’s a win-win situation. Good music without feeling like a flattened sardine.
All in all, it formed an atmosphere to be more emotional in tune with the message and sound without the need for excessive stage fanfare. Your senses don’t get bombarded with audio-visual stimuli from all directions. It is just you and the artist.
Jordan had a sold-out show four months afterwards at the Roundhouse. I would choose this night over that one – time and time again.
Stay safe and musically curious,