REVIEW: Ta-Ku – Songs To Break Up To
by Lawrence Ferrell
Australia has been exporting plenty of diverse music, including works from Perth native and beat composer Ta-Ku. The Red Bull Music Academy alum has released a number of EPs over the last few years, most notably Late NYC and Re-Twerk Vol. 1 and 2. His latest, Songs To Break Up To, is a “cinematic musical journey for the broken hearted,” unleashed just in time for 2013’s cuffing season. Reminiscent of works by Nujabes, Flying Lotus, and Clams Casino, Ta-Ku invokes moods with his thoughtful use of samples, drum patterns, and effects. Going beyond mere instrumentals, he provides soundtracks to our life’s journeys.
“Beggining To End” opens the EP, incorporating the same sample featured in Musiq Soulchild’s 2002 hit “Halfcrazy“*. After a muddy start, “Beggining To End” climaxes with thumping kick drums and (heart)string plucks. “Heartbreak (Sinking)” continues the theme with melancholy piano chords and the sound of dragging chains. “I Miss You” stands out, with Ta-ku transforming Willow Smith’s “Summer Fling” into the perfect soundtrack for the ultimate no-no: late night calls to an ex. The haunting “We Were In Love” vents the anger of feeling deceived by someone that claimed to love you, with a dark piano perfectly accentuating the point. “Moving On” ends the EP, offering the listener some closure and the inspiration to seek the next thrilling experience. Lost love may leave you pained, but Songs To Break Up To reminds you to cherish the good times.
After chasing the ghost of Dilla with his previous works, it’s wonderful to hear Ta-Ku coming into his own. It’s obvious he’s learned his lessons; perhaps one day, the student will surpass the teacher.
Stream/purchase available here.
*I know I’m “Sample Snitching”, but the rabbit hole led me to this track by noted French composer Francis Lai. It was used for a movie called Vivre Pour Vivre (Live For Life), in which a married newscaster has an affair with a young model. After their break up—and his release from a Vietnamese prison—he tries to rekindle the love affair, but she’s moved on. If intentional, this is a brilliant move.