- by charles filtness Rating: Release Date: Label:
Tonight’s show is the second time the Melbourne four-piece Mildlife have played the Brudenell. On their first visit last year opening for the mighty Wooden Shjips they stole the show with their mesmerising blend of electro-funk/space-jazz; it's the only time I can remember a support band being cheered so loudly to play an encore.
That short series of UK shows was in support of their debut 'Phase' that for many was one of the best of 2018. It also received plenty of appreciation amongst the YouTube 'vinyl community' with many of its more jazz-inclined members placing it as their album of the year. Their most recent release is also a vinyl-only affair; a new 12" single titled 'How Long Does It Take?’. It’s another addictive track with its intentions wholly set on the dance floor and where flute takes the lead in place of any vocals. It might well be their best release to date. It comes backed with two remixes by Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi. For those in the know this is quite something, Baldelli in particular being recognised as a don of Italian Disco by all accounts. The mixes are as worthy of inclusion as the original and the 'Malba' mix might even just eclipse it. Taking the original and re-emphasising key sounds including the 'Once in a Lifetime' style twinkling in the background whilst propelling the whole thing to a higher cosmic plane. It’s tremendous. Collaborations like this don't happen accidentally and it gives some indication of the vision of the band and those around them to have facilitated such a partnership.
The release prior to the current single was a reworking and re-recording of the title track from their debut and simply titled 'Phase II'. Whether that was a nod to the Nigerian 1970s psychedelic funk band 'Blo' who had an album of the same name is unclear, but it would seem entirely plausible if not highly likely. Certainly, their influences reach far and wide with an inclination towards using a broad sound palette. Tonight’s show gloriously demonstrates this with amongst many other things; organ sounds in the vein of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, synths reminiscent of mid-70s Pink Floyd, Moon Safari-era Air vocoder effect vocals and in places the exceptional flute playing dancing high above the rest.
They start things off rather gently on stage, evoking blissed out sunny afternoons lounging around festival stages. It isn't long before the pace picks up, the epic lysergic journey that is 'The Magnificent Moon' from their debut is probably the highlight of the album and tonight it gets an excitable response early on. There is plenty more to rival that and the set features a number of newer tunes that all hit the same mark. 'How Long Does It Take?' is naturally fantastic to see played live. An hour races by and we're again shouting out for more. They return with the signiture electro squelch of the 303 synth (or something similar) that indicates things are going out with a bang. Something which they don't fail to deliver on; the two-song encore elevating the room even further. Perhaps they could have played for a little longer and hopefully next time they will but certainly, no one was left disappointed.