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REVIEW: OKA - MILK & HONEY
Milk & Honey

Oka
Milk & Honey

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Tony Hillier - The Australian

SUNSHINE Coast trio OKA's didgeridoo-driven soft doof has made the earth move for late-night festival ragers all across Australia, Asia and North America in the past few years.



Whether the Queenslanders' cocktail of world and roots music, electronica, hip-hop and dub is as potent in the cold light of day remains a moot point. Frenchman Jean Michel Jarre pioneered this style of music 35 years ago with albums such as Oxygene, and didge, once an exotic component, has long been a staple of labels such as Six Degrees and Buddha Bar that specialise in the type of electro-global fusion peddled by Stu Boga Fergie (aka Didgeristu), Chris Lane and Charles Wall.



So, groundbreaking Milk and Honey most certainly isn't. Yet the combination of electrified yidaki and traditional and synthetic percussion with effects-fired slide guitar, flute and/or saxophone and smooth vocals is undeniably consummate on tracks such as Birds of Paradise and Simple Way, on which the electronic beats are relatively unobtrusive. Similarly on Down Under and Gorilla Villa, when jazzy brass is dropped into the mix.



On pieces such as the title track and The Drop, where the beats are beefed up, melody is subservient to rhythm. Bamboo Rain and Big Boppa have a bonus in the thud of real double bass rather than synthesised lower end. Elsewhere, African, Indian, Jamaican and Polynesian lilts are a source of some stimulation.



LABEL: Vitamin

RATING: 3 stars