Album review: EP II – Mmdelai

(Self released)

A couple of years ago, Annemarie Duff’s first-up full-lengther For Sleep and Creativity did what it said on the tin…drifting, ambient electronica suited for starry-eyed dreamers or reiki therapists’ waiting rooms.

Now with three other conspirators (student friend Jess Hix, Danny Webster and philosophy graduate Josh Black) behind her, the music has filled out: not only are Duff’s breathy vocals underpinned by dark, Bjork-ish tones of dread and wonder, but there’s a sparkling, ethereal quality to the synths and a whip-crack depth to the bass and beats.

That music coming out of Christchurch over the past couple of years has a sense of brooding that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but that it can also shimmer with sexiness shows real ability.

The sound ranges from shoe-gaze to UNKLE-style trip-hop to something like French pop, and, although Duff says she nearly pulled the finished project for being too over-polished after tinkering for more than a year, the depth of work is clear.

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– (Live Matches)