Published Mar 27, 2018New Zealand's capital is an eye-catching coastal city ranked 12th in the world in terms of quality of living; in the Asia Pacific region, only Auckland and Sydney score higher. Wellington has earned a strong cultural reputation too, home to a respected movie and theatre industry. It also contains a remarkably young population — three in five are younger than 40, according to the local 2013 census.
Al, Mike and James are among this vibrant creative class. The trio who call themselves Groeni have a fine new broken beats disc out called Nihx. It's difficult to describe these nine tracks without a reference to Radiohead, to whom the work bears a strong resemblance. That said, this is a soulful, wonderfully produced effort.
The album's thematic focus on conflict is nicely expressed through its beats. Built largely from samples collected by Mike, they're matched with a list of manipulated sounds that includes guitar feedback. The members say they sketched out songs separately before turning on their computers. That likely contributed to the album's rather bleak poignancy. The album's opening track "Unrest" features a heart-breaking falsetto vocal over dark synth lines. It's both lovely and, as its title suggests, unnerving.
"Teething" is another highlight. "I'd be lost without you here, need I remind you" provides the project's vocal centrepiece, a kind of precise synopsis. Track one is bookended with "Rest," a dark ambient (mostly) instrumental that closes the disc on a gentle, understated note. Groeni can be proud of this album, which deserves an audience well beyond New Zealand's capital. (Project Mooncircle)