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MILDLIFE

Mildlife

Live From South Channel Island

    Since oozing onto the scene, Mildlife’s mellifluous mix of jazz, krautrock and demon grooves has fast become a word of mouth sensation among open-minded DJs and diggers searching for the perfect beat. Their emergence was fortified by European tours, demonstrating a riotously looselimbed performance approach that was every bit as thrilling as their album’s tantalizing promise. By the end of their breakout year, they’d been nominees for Best Album at the Worldwide FM Awards (Worldwide’s Gilles Peterson was a notable champion), won Best Electronic Act at The Music Victoria Awards back home in Melbourne, and were officially anointed by DJ Harvey who included ‘The Magnificent Moon’ on his Pikes compilation Mercury Rising Vol II.

    2020’s follow-up album Automatic saw the band elevate with more disciplined, directional and arguably more danceable synergy. With tightly structured arrangements making way for melodic improvisation and ethereal vocals, Mildlife effortlessly glid between live performance and studio songwriting like Kraftwerk and Herbie Hancock quarantined in Bob Moog’s Trumansburg workshop. Debuting Top 10 on the Australian charts, Automatic snared a converted ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album.

    In early 2021, unable to play shows due to the pandemic, Mildlife travelled by boat to a long abandoned 19th century island fort to perform for fairy penguins and abalone poachers. The result is Live from South Channel Island, a 70 minute motion picture and live album where the band masterfully recreate the magic of their live shows, framed by the gorgeous Port Phillip Bay.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It's really hard to ignore the similarities here to Pink Floyd's 'Live In Pompeii' (looking at the comments on bandcamp too, it's not just me), but Mildlife's brand of hazy psychedelic jazz veers away from Pink Floyd as much as it veers towards. Laid-back grooves and saturated, swooning synths all brought together with those syrupy vocals. Stupidly brilliant, visually and audibly.

    TRACK LISTING

    A
    1 Rare Air (Live From South Channel Island)
    2 Vapour (Live From South Channel Island)
    B
    1 Im Blau (Live From South Channel Island)
    2 Citations (Live From South Channel Island)
    C
    1 The Magnificent Moon (Live From South Channel Island)
    2 Zwango Zop (Live From South Channel Island)
    D
    1 Automatic (Live From South Channel Island)
    2 Air (Live From South Channel Island)

    Following the success of 'Phase', Research brings you an all-star cast delivering remixes of their pick from Mildlife's debut album released early 2018.

    Research welcomes Tornado Wallace to give us his take on 'The Magnificent Moon'. The Berlin based master producer who recently released his debut LP, Lonely Planet (Running Back) is no stranger to the remix game. With releases on the likes of ESP Institute, Beats in Space and Music From Memory's sister label, Second Circle Wallace is a "force to be reckoned with".

    Joining Wallace on the A side is Melbourne's own, label-bosses, beat makers and party starters, Sleep D. Since 2013 the pair have been responsible for the Butter Sessions imprint, which is considered "one of Australia's essential dance music labels". Here the pair put their signature dubbed out sound on 'Im Blau'.

    Finally on the flipside Swedish disco-house rockers Mount Liberation Unlimited turn 'The Gloves Don't Bite' on its head with an extended 12-minute take. A re-imagined bass line mixed with quirky Swedish vocals, and their signature drum freak-outs makes for a memorable ending to this diverse EP.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. The Magnificent Moon (Tornado Wallace Remix)
    2. Im Blau (Sleep D Remix)
    3. The Gloves Don't Bite (Mount Liberation Unlimited's Re-edit For The Dancefloor)

    With current album ‘Automatic’, Mildlife have made a step-change from their debut. It’s more disciplined, directional and more danceable. As on ‘Phase’, they are unafraid to let a track luxuriate in length without ever succumbing to self-indulgence. The arrangements, tightly structured thanks to Tom Shanahan (bass) and Jim Rindfleish’s fatback drumming, permit space for the others to add spice to the stew, topped off with Kevin McDowell’s ethereal vocals as Mildlife effortlessly glide between live performance and studio songwriting.

    The two remixers tackling ‘Automatic’ track ‘Vapour’ here need little introduction. JD Twitch, one half of Glasgow’s Optimo Espacio and discerning curator of all things Caledonian and beyond, takes the reins for remix two, adding some clattering post-punk energy to the rhythm, turning ‘Vapour’ into something approaching a take-no-prisoners anthem.

    Cosmodelica is the remix handle for Colleen Murphy (aka DJ Cosmo), the hostess of the hugely popular Classic Album Sundays series. She is fresh off the back of a superb Róisín Murphy reworking and her offering here is simultaneously faithful to the original while lending it some serious dancefloor power.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Scottish and Boston / NY royalty rub shoulders remixing the hyped-ta-fuck Mildlife with some incredibly pleasing results! Nice to see a 12" pressing of the "Vapour" track included too - absolute winner!

    TRACK LISTING

    Vapour
    Vapour (A JD Twitch Remix)
    Vapour (Cosmodelica Remix)
    Vapour (Cosmodelica Instrumental)

    When Mildlife’s debut album, Phase, was released in 2018 it didn’t so much explode on to the scene as ooze. Their mellifluous mix of jazz, krautrock and, perhaps more pertinently, demon grooves, was the word of mouth sensation of that year among open-minded DJs and diggers searching for the perfect beat.

    Their emergence was backed up by European tours that demonstrated a riotously loose-limbed ap-proach to performance that was every bit as thrilling as Phase’s tantalising promise. What was more impressive was how lightly they wore influences that took in Can, Patrick Adams and Jan Hammer Group, while primarily sounding precisely like Mildlife.

    By the end of 2018 they’d been nominees for Best Album at the Worldwide FM Awards (World-wide’s Gilles Peterson was a notable champion) and won Best Electronic Act at The Age Music Victoria Awards back home in Melbourne. Their progress post-Phase was cemented with a UK deal with Jeff Barrett’s Heavenly, who released How Long Does It Take? replete with Cosmic doyen Baldelli and Dionigi remixes, while last year they were officially anointed by DJ Harvey when he included The Magnificent Moon on his Pikes compilation Mercury Rising Vol II.

    With Automatic, the band have made a step-change from their debut. It’s more disciplined, direc-tional and arguably more danceable. As on Phase, they are unafraid to let a track luxuriate in length without ever succumbing to self-indulgence. The arrangements, tightly structured thanks to Tom Shanahan (bass) and Jim Rindfleish’s fatback drumming, permit space for the others to add spice to the stew, topped off with Kevin McDowell’s ethereal vocals as Mildlife effortlessly glide between live performance and studio songwriting. “The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,’ says Kevin. “They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”

    With the current climate as it is, opportunities to take this album out into the live arena where the band truly come alive, might well be scant, but they are working on ways around this. “We were hoping to visit new places with this album but that’s required a bit of rethink. We have a lot more videos planned for this year and we’ll be doing shows in Australia when things re-open but it’s still all just wait and see for now.” One thing’s for sure, post-lockdown will be one hell of a party.

    The centrepiece of Automatic is the title track where the band sound like Kraftwerk and Herbie Hancock on quarantined lockdown in Bob Moog’s Trumansburg workshop. It’s both a departure and quintessentially Mildlife. This is music you can dance to rather than ‘dance music’ and it’s all the better for it.

    - Bill Brewster

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Mildlife's first LP 'Phase' wowed us all at Picc HQ and their subsequent live shows sent all and sundry into utter rapture. Their second LP takes a little side step away from the more cosmic moments of their debut, leaning into a more sleek and streamlined discoid style which could elicit a wiggle from even the most ardent wallflower.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Rare Air
    2 Vapour
    3 Downstream
    4 Citations
    5 Memory Palace
    6 Automatic


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