Artist: Lo Five
Album title: ‘Singularity’
Label/Distributor: Lo Five Music
Release date: Friday 16th August
When it comes to Modern Soul Aussie duo Lo Five are leading the charge. Combining inspiration from the past with the digital availabilities of tomorrow has won them a legion of fans the world over including the likes of The Sweet Inspirations, Sly & Robbie, Olivia Newton John and Jools Holland. With their debut album ‘Singularity’ set for release on 16th August, you had better get your tastebuds primed because Lo Five are ripe with a creative ooze and special sauce ready to be tasted.
Tam Morris’s musical career started as a teenager when he penned the #2 ARIA hit ‘Break in the Weather’ for his sister Jenny Morris. Parallel to his music, Tam’s talent as a storyboard artist has seen him work on some of the Australia’s best films. Alongside the likes of Bryan Brown, Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Griffiths, Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Watts and Heath Ledger, Tam has developed his craft, and will be screening his first film at the 2013 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.
Alan Goodman is one of the Australia’s most in-demand keyboardists touring and working with the A-team of Australian music playing at all of the majors festivals and events on the annual calendar. He regularly tours the globe, playing across Europe and Dubai. Carribean Soul – the reggae band he also plays with – have some big supporters, the likes of drummer John Blackwell (Prince) coming to jam with them when he tours Australia.
With around 40 years between them in music, Tam and Alan they have toured, remixed, written for, recorded and collaborated with Jools Holland, Sly & Robbie, Groove Terminator, Skunkhour, Alex Lloyd, Fantine, Christine Anu, Jenny Morris, Paula Baxter, The Strides, Professor Groove and the Booty Affair, Jazzanova, Jahcoozi, Coda, Rephrase, Jamie Lloyd and more.
As word of the evolving Lo Five collaboration spread, offers of work flowed in. They were commissioned for the musical Score of 2011 Australian-British comedy film ‘A Few Best Men’ directed by Steffan Eliot (‘Pricilla, Queen Of The Desert’), which saw them lay down drums and keys, as well as Tam’s vocals which ended up on several tracks including the opening sequence of the film. Lo Five also remixed two Olivia Newton-John covers for the soundtrack which she personally described as “music to make babies to”.
The interest in their productions skills combined with study and family commitments has meant the album took some time to come to fruition; the recording process taking almost 2 years, however like most things in life, good things are worth waiting for. Bridging the traditional approach to songwriting and use of instrumentation with Lo Five’s own elements and influences has created an album that is richly layered and intricate yet simple and open for interpretation like many of the great musical moments from history.
‘Singularity’ is a labour of love between two souls who just click and across 13 tracks the two have captured their own blend of soul and funk that harbours spices from a wide scope of influences. The bombastic beats of the late great J Dilla; to the original R&B soul of the Stax and Motown catalogues; to contemporary soul icons like Jamie Lidell and Amy Winehouse, and not forgetting wondrous songwriters like Queen and The Beatles, Lo Five’s original grooves dip in and out of flavours from across the skein of funk history, p-funk to soul to electro funk to all things groovy in between. Offering a vision of the future that is human, loving and open, Lo Five explore a number of themes throughout ‘Singularity’. They express the plight of technology – not as a planet destroyer or oppressor – but as a new soul that needs our guidance, they ponder the personal sacrifices made by those who choose the limelight and encourage us all to chase real connections in a world that leans toward convenient ones.
The album opener and arguably the most accessible track on the album ‘We Do’ which has the essence of a great funk record, mixed with pop sensibilities when it comes to lyrics and structure.
Lo Five wrote the homage track ‘Heavenly Ho’ about Amy Winehouse six month before word spread of her demise. Focused on how fame often destroys the personal lives of performers and the contrast between Amy’s musical world and her private life. Out of respect, the duo held back the release of the track till the year anniversary of her passing.
For ‘Little Man’ Lo Five collaborated with legendary The Sweet Inspirations (Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, The Killers). The powerful voices of Estelle Brown and Portia Griffin define this as one of the album highlights. When the recording session was finished, Portia exclaimed “I’m gonna play this to Oprah!”.
In a world of sample mediocrity and regurgitated rehashes, Lo Five stand in stark and shining contrast, beckoning all brave adventurers to a brighter future! But maybe if you don’t pick up any of that, what you will get when you listen to ‘Singularity’ is an urge to move that derriere…