A compilation like this could really only come out of the multi cultural melting pot that is Auckland City, Aotearoa. Originating from AK venue Khuja Lounge's weekly live music night of the same name, new local label Sugarlicks aims to profile the soulful sound of big city Aotearoa, and with this first compilation collects a uniquely New Zealand blend of street level beats. The Polynesian vibes run strongly through this one - from the opening moments of singer Lol Usoalii's homage to her homeland of 'Samoana' right up to the deep polyrhythmic rumblings of Mesh's compilation closer 'Dragonfly'. Our outer-national trip takes in also the Brazilian flavour of Kuhja residents La Brisa Louca and Haitian disco styles of Kaya, as the sounds and rhythms of the big wide world converge on the upper Queen Street club.
From around the country come migratory Christchurch-bred kids The Nomad, MC Antsman and singer Lotus, who collaborate on the original version of the former's recent track 'Concentrate', plus Wellington's headnod heroes Fat Freddy's Drop, an all-star group lead by Roots Foundation DJ Mu.
Multitalented performer / dancer / songwriter Henry Taripo contributes the most traditional sounding song, a commentary on European arrogance in attitudes to the Pacific, set to finger drumming and haunting flute. The hip-hop tip is well represented with instrumental tracks from Submariner and Juse and a solo joint from Nuvonesian intergalactic wordsmith Imon Star, while aforementioned groups Kaya and Mesh delve deeper into house-influenced dancefloor territory. What makes this compilation such a success is the diversity of the material on offer. No two tracks sound the same as the extended Sugarlicks family heap styles upon styles upon styles - the urban soul pollination of Aotearoa-made music never sounded so fresh, original and innovative. These beats are sugar sweet, and the flavours distinctively homegrown.