New Zealand’s Ahlei offers up production for daydreaming and delicate vocals honeyed enough to keep you there.
Ahlei is an Auckland-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Growing up in a musical family, Ahlei effortlessly delivers soulful soliloquies for days when time stands still.
Her bedroom pop runs in a similar vein to Clairo and Beabadoobee, boasting a richly imaginative production style that rewards multiple listens. So if you’ve got a soft spot for delicate vocals, add Ahlei to your queue right now.
Ahlei released her first single, Birds as a dual single; the original and the acoustic version. In doing so, we, as listeners, get an isolated glimpse into both sides of Ahlei’s craftsmanship. Firstly, the songwriting itself. And secondly, the wondrous production that brings it to life.
The acoustic take reveals Ahlei’s tendency for jazz-inflected keys paired with collected reflection. Meanwhile, the electronic production captures our interest with real-life buzzes – distracted synths, radio vocals, objects hitting the floor – Finneas and Billie Eilish are a notable influence here.
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Her latest single, Reveries, is Ahlei’s classiest execution of these ideas to date. A vibrato synth opens the track while the singer tries to make sense of painful memories. “They say time can fix anything… almost anything.”
Neither the instrumentation nor Ahlei find the resolution they crave, making for an unforgettable delivery of one of the most pertinent emotions ever – melancholy.
In a slow 6/8 metre, Tom Misch-esque electric guitar dances around the swirling synths and beautiful melodies. Ahlei casts a spell from start to close, and once you’re under, you won’t want to break free. Like the glistening water on the single cover, you’re adrift, and the stability of solid ground feels out of reach – a deeply affecting track from a promising artist.
Listen to Reveries below: