Emerging fully formed as though from nowhere (in reality: Melbourne, Australia), this new young space-kraut-jazz outfit announced their existence last November with a sinuous, nine-minute single called The Magnificent Moon, a groove that could have happily gone on for ever. Here were four musicians on guitar, bass, drums and analogue synths pretending it was 1974 and that brown was the most kaleidoscopic colour.
As with The Magnificent Moon, Mildlife’s debut album, Phase, falls just on the right side of the line dividing smug progressive fusions a la the Alan Parsons Project from questing psych-disco-jazz, the kind that wouldn’t sound wrong supporting Tame Impala on tour. The most enduring tracks are the calmest, where Mildlife foreground flow and beauty over virtuoso musicianship. Two Horizons starts with some oceanic space noises, but turns beatific with the overlaying of a trumpet-like synth line. There’s much to admire, too, on funk workouts like Zwango Zop, or tracks such as Im Blau that join the dots between Daft Punk and Tortoise.
All Raphael Ong records are non-returnable.