We often come to know singers by the genre they establish themselves within – fair enough, it’s a way to have some kind of order in this world of music. When an artist decides to explore a different genre, we sometimes become critical of whether they should stick to ‘what they know’ or we encourage them to keep pursuing their new found sound because it’s ‘better’ than before – it’s just like the society we live in today where you have to settle with one thing or another, you can’t be or have both – but times are changing.
MKO is limitless with their uniquely futuristic sound. One thing is certain – their highly soulful creations soar with lyricism that commands respect.
Every now and then we come across an artist who interchanges so frequently that being ‘different’ is part of their identity – they are known to be constantly pushing the boundaries and perhaps being a little ‘risqué’ as they say. MKO is known to be apathetic towards following trends, which means they are a growing trend themselves – one that remains continual ambiguous but is welcomed wherever it may take you. ‘Surprise’ is not the right reaction deserved here, ‘excitement’ of more experimental sounds is how this story should go down.
Brisbane’s neo soul/ electronic/ future-pop trio MKO, embodies a little bit of everything. The group is fronted by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and producer Hannah Macklin, whose vocals show no limits, suited to soulful RnB, rap and the shrilling yet pleasantly angelic range of a “disney fairy”. MKO are currently living in New York where they have been performing for the past few weeks. With influences from Tune-yards, The Dirty Projectors, James Blake, Jonti, and Little Dragon, MKO’s signature sound fuses otherworldly electronica with underground soul – it’s truly inventive and liberating.
Their third and final single for 2014, Dust & Grime is an two-faced exotic meets ‘don’t give a fuck’ track that’s all about: ” holding your head high when you walk down the street, embracing your inner freak and owning your shit, regardless of others’ clouded judgement,” – this track tells you to maintain your composure at all times because behind your exterior you should know you’re right and don’t need anyone to tell you otherwise. The video features 26 dancers from a community dance class that Hannah organised, choreographed and taught over 5 weeks for the film shoot.
You can truly appreciate MKO’s balance of “old-school ideals that music should be deep, challenging, tuneful, soulful and syncopated; with an otherworldy, abstracted new-school spin,” just through this video alone, where the contrasting black and whites represent that affirmed sound, and the touch of silver highlights the futuristic edginess they are bringing.
MKO’s other recent release, Puddles, is as refreshing as the name suggests – a splash of purity, providing a clear reflection of yourself as you explore it to satisfy your curiosity- its deep depth is unknown to you until you experience it for yourself. The line: “We can’t all be superheroes, at least I’ll try,” chanted throughout makes it one of those songs you just want to close your eyes and allow it to cleanse your soul. It’s a great taste of MKO’s diversity after listening to Dust & Grime.
You can get a free download of Dust & Grime from Triple J Unearthed! If you happen to be in NYC why not check out MKO at the Cake Shop on the Lower East Side, Monday December 8th at 8pm ( as a Sydneysider I have no idea where that is, but a simple Google will do the trick :) ) .
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