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Mildlife Share New Single & Video “Musica” & Announce New Album Out March 1st via Heavenly Recordings

November 3, 2023
Tom Ross

Mildlife Share New Single & Video, “Musica”

Announce New Album, Chorus Out March 1st

via Heavenly

Two-time ARIA Award-winning Naarm/Melbourne-based psychedelic jazz outfit Mildlife  announce their much-anticipated third studio LP Chorusdue out March 1, 2024 via Heavenly, and share the video for new single “Musica”. 

The centre-piece to the forthcoming Chorus, “Musica” was built on hours of improvisation, touring and studio time, honed over 100-plus shows across 23 different countries in the past year alone; at the end of each night, the band would dedicate space in their legendary extended encores to lengthy improvisational passages, out of this ‘Musica’ eventually coalescing from nebula to its fully recorded, synth-starred glory. 

From those origins, the track came to assume particular significance for guitarist Adam Halliwell, whose Italian heritage manifested in the lyrics. “When my Nona passed away, I realized I didn’t really know anything about my culture,” he says, having begun learning Italian since her passing a few years ago. “‘Musica’ started with ‘mi da la carica’, which means ‘gives me energy’. Some of the lyrics were written in Italian and then translated back to English a bit askew – almost like writing a song for Eurovision where the lyrics are not quite right”

“Musica” follows the release of celestial previous single “Return to Centaurus”, a near-ten minute-long trip through psychedelic space rock and gloriously hook-heavy acid funk breakdowns which marked the band’s first new material since the release of their lauded 2020 second album Automatic. In the intervening period, the band have grown into one of Australia’s most critically acclaimed and widely beloved acts, carving out a niche wholly of their own – one that traverses jazz, dance, prog and psychedelic music into a curiously singular, entirely entrancing and moveable amalgam.

Directed by Hayden Somerville, the surreal “Musica” video is a part-Coen Brothers, part-film noir oddball odyssey set in rural Australia, with nods to the Autobahns of Mildlife’s Krautrock influences along the way. On the clip, Somerville shares: “Listening to the track, the ‘part machine part human’ elements throughout MUSICA were so fun to mess around with. Both of those worlds play against each other in a really pleasing way in the song. I think that’s where ‘Keyboard Arm’ came from. The thought of growing your own little instrument and having a jam with friends was lovely and the whole clip grew from there.

Utterly gripping, the squelchy but light bass notes, the hypnotic rhythmic looping, the energy and the charming vocal notes. Every attribute builds upon this addictive status, and this lasting influence shines. Mildlife has released another innovative and essential creation that emits this futuristic aesthetic and showcases the range of this formidable outfit.

Debuting at #8 on the ARIA Album Charts upon release, Automatic garnered plaudits from across the critical spectrum, with praise from NME AU (Best Australian Albums of 2020), Mixdown (“their most immersive listening experience to date”), The Age, The Guardian, CLASH, MTV AU, Brooklyn Vegan and more, including a four star review from The Sydney Morning Herald (“a skillful juggle of sonic ingredients”) and a four-and-a-half star review in Rolling Stone AU, who dubbed the album “the record of a lifetime”. With airplay across triple j, Double J, BBC Radio 6Music and feature album placements at FBi Radio, 3RRR and 2SER, Automatic also nabbed Mildlife nominations for Best Live Act and Best Group at the 2021 Music Victoria Awards, alongside being shortlisted for Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2021 AIR Independent Music Awards. It all culminated in the band winning their first-ever ARIA Award for Best Jazz Album in 2021, which was promptly followed up the next year with yet another win for the recording of their Mildlife Live At South Channel Island motion picture, an hour-long performance that saw the band masterfully recreate the magic of their much-vaunted live shows framed by the gorgeous surrounds of Port Phillip Bay. And, where Automatic largely consolidated the successes of their 2017 debut LP Phase, with the impending arrival of Chorus, Mildlife appear set to ascend to another stratosphere entirely. 

On their third studio full-length, Mildlife link microcosmic personal meaning with a macro view from on high. Chorus is the sound of singular entities coalescing into a wondrous whole. It’s harmonious togetherness and celebratory symbiosis. And it’s the band’s ultimate statement of their borderline mystical unity, their unified theory of groove.

“Chorus is about a coming together of disparate elements. Not in some sort of utopian aesthetic where everything works perfectly, but in the natural flow and state of things,” shares the band’s Jim Rindfleish. “It’s about cosmic compatibility and chemistry: what makes things work? Not just what makes the band work, but what makes good music, art or love? It’s the rhythm of nature”.  

Following 2020’s Automatic and 2017’s PhaseChorus arrives as Mildlife’s most optimistic record, serving as a sonic testament to the band’s unwavering adoration for the beguiling realms of 70s psychedelic and cosmic sounds. Delve deeper, and you’ll unearth Polish jazz, Italo disco and a sprinkling of contemporary electronic sounds. Chorus is the dance of an expanding and contracting universe – its groove is forever and always, cyclical and evolving. In its most human moments, the album luxuriates in the velvety embrace of Tomas Shanahan’s bass lines, Halliwell’s luminous guitar riffs, Kevin McDowell’s hushed and alluring vocals, Rindfleish’s intricate percussive tapestries and the spiritual rhythms of regular collaborator Craig Shanahan. Swept up in the chorus, the lines between individual and ensemble blur. 

It’s knowing that all the pieces of our own puzzles can slot neatly into a bigger one.” says Shanahan. Such a creative revelation is the band’s growing assurance in their vocal prowess. On the band’s previous albums, McDowell’s voice stood as the predominant lyrical conduit, but on Chorus all members have a moment of expression, highlighting their own choral visions, forging a new unified openness and humanity to the their sound.

We had this idea that we wanted to create a kind of disparate ecosystem of living things,” continues Shanahan. “We liked the idea of creating a small metaphor of moving through space. You see moments of things and sounds that may not emerge again, until everything around you starts to unify.” 

Chorus might be an album of individual tracks, band members and experiences, but it’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s microscopic particles forming new minerals or overlapping time signatures folding in on themselves in generative creation. With the release of Chorus the band has once again opened a portal to their singular realm of rhythmic communion. Step into the flow.

1. Forever

2. Yourself

3. Sunrise

4. Musica

5. Chorus

6. Future Life

7. Return to Centaurus

https://mildlife.bandcamp.com/

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