Koi Child’s self-titled debut is what some may feel resonates as a masterpiece of jazz, hip-hop and psych-electronic fusion. With breezy production by Kevin Parker and intricate songs that flow under complex harmony and tight grooves; the album sounds incredibly unique and unlike most hip-hop that is being pumped out of the Australian music scene. The way that Koi Child are able to move through different grooves is masterful; constantly dipping between juxtaposing genres that feel buttery in their combination. In a large band myself, Koi Child showcases how incredibly talented these dudes are on their instruments and how well they work as a band.
The album kicks off with the hypnotic keys intro of ‘Grease’ that is followed by dark horn figures, exploratory bass lines and thumping drums. ‘Grease’ is a great introduction to the record; the sounds and harmonies that the band explores in full swing at the get-go. ‘Wumpa Fruit’ is a classic reference to video game Crash Bandicoot, and the song stumbles it’s way at the start behind syncopated drum rhythms – that is, of course – until Shannon “Cruz” Patterson comes in with his first verse of the album. The band launch into lo-fi funk vibes with ‘Touch Em’. James Brown-esque drums and stabby horn figures drive the song, before it edges into Curtis Mayfield territory with the crazy sax solo towards the end of the song.
‘Frangipani’ sounds the most psych-rock of any tracks. Whilst Kevin Parker’s influence is fairly noticeable throughout (his drum sounds are instantly recognisable), it’s most obvious on ‘Frangipani’. The band creates a lush lo-fi psych soundscape that’s reminiscent of Tame Impala’s first album, and Parker’s production definitely enhances the feel. The most recent single, ‘1-5-9’, flows under a hypnotic bass line, the use of lush keyboard work and introspective lyrics championing this sound. ‘Slow One’, “Adventures Of The Capsule’ and ‘Cruzy P’ sound like Dilla beats with live drums, horn figures and jazzier harmonies; a notable feature that is also shown on the first single off the album, ‘Black Panda’. This song transcends genre boundaries, and the groove of the song changes multiple times without skipping a beat. “Cruz” Patterson’s flow is amazing on this track, too.
The inclusion of little skits is also a great feature of the album. The use of these mini interludes is something I really enjoy about modern hip-hop, as it helps to break up the listening and give you a break before the next track hits you like a truck. I felt like that after ‘Rap Trash’. Whilst it isn’t the most chilled interlude, ‘Japes’ follows on from it, and boy, does it break down hard after an awesome keyboard intro. Thumping drums, synth runs and tight horn figures drive this near-seven minute epic. Halfway through, the band changes the groove and bust into a Dilla-esque groove, and towards the end, they approach Kamasi Washington/Thundercat territory with jazzy horn lines and bouncy bass sounds. I think ‘Japes’ and ‘1-5-9’ are my favourites on the album, but it’s hard to pick, as I unapologetically love every track!
This album is amazing. The way Koi Child weave their way through genres and different grooves is incredible. It isn’t the easiest listen if you aren’t used to heavy jazz-influenced music, but it is a great introduction to that world. I highly recommend checking these guys out and immersing yourself in the wonderful soundscape they create.
Koi Child is out now via Pilerats Records.