Last Friday night was a unique platform for Perth beat smith Ta-Ku to launch his sophomore EP Songs To Make Up To. Hosted by Boiler Room and the Red Bull Music Academy, they transformed Ta-Ku’s own quaint barbershop, the Westons Barbershop, into a live and energetic music space. Often lauded for his ability as a creative collaborator, he brought in a handful of friends, family and some like-minded artists for the intimate performance.
It was also unique in the sense that it was broadcast live on the Boiler Room site. The production team were hunched over a mixing deck in the back corner, as well as having photographers and videographers roaming around the room capturing the proceedings. The doors were meant to open at 7:30 for an 8pm start, but due to technical difficulties setting up the stream, guests didn’t make it in until 8:30. Despite having a handful of Boiler Rooms under his belt, Ta-Ku was pacing anxiously between the guests gathered outside and inside, and kept disappearing for an outfit change.
However, it was Brisbane songstress Wafia who took the stage first. She appeared shaky in her opening songs, before feeling her way into the set, seemingly frustrated by a metallic vocal effect which limited her ability to sing too loud. She played ‘Breathe In’, the Japanese Wallpaper hit she featured on, before doing a minimalist cover of Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’. She also premiered a dope new track that Ta-ku had co-produced, to come off her debut EP later this year. He stood in front of her the whole set in admiration and applauding her.
Next up was Jordan Rakei, whose frisky soul jams bumped the crowd into a light shuffle. He looked the experienced campaigner, with a particular clarity in his voice deft touch over the keyboard. He pleased with covers of Frank Ocean and James Blake, whose influences really transpired into his original work. One half of the HWLS duo, Kit Pop, closed the night after Ta-Ku with future bass and hip-hop bangers. His genre bending mix was comprised of trap hooks and trippy snares. Sam Price also has to be acknowledged for assembling the incredible visual show that accompanied the music. He brought the Ta-Ku aesthetic as petals unfurled and floated down the white wall they were being projected onto. He appropriated his visuals to the bass growls of HWLS.
The fluency of the lineup was a real highlight of the evening. Not only were the sets of Wafia and Jordan Rakei complementing the vibes of Ta-Ku, but they joined him on stage in his set. Whilst he was limited to only playing tracks off the EP, it was understandable given it was central to the purpose of the night. He flew JMSN all the way from Los Angeles, for a raw and passionate take on lead single ‘Love Again’. The chemistry between him and Rakei was electric on ‘Sunrise/ Beautiful’, where Rakei’s silky vocals acted as remedy over a quite jarring instrumental. He closed with ‘Work In Progress’, which signifies a change in sound. He brought his pal Will Langer to play piano as he sung fragments of verses and murmured at times, in perhaps the most emotional moment of the night.
The success of the night truly was a team effort. In closing, Ta-Ku was very appreciative of the contributors on both the EP and the night, for curating the perfect launch for Songs To Make Up To.