‘Strange Beauty’ is the debut album from producer and multi-instrumentalist Hemai. A collection of stories of the love, spirit and balance of the universe, the hotly tipped 22-year-old experiments with the idea of movement and the present, bringing together some of his favourite sounds from around the world and melding them with his UK roots.
“Fretless bass and splashy synths… Don’t mind if I do!” Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music)
“This is something special. It’s like Jazz from Mars” Jack Saunders (BBC Radio 1)
“The Birmingham maestro has lit a fire in the UK jazz underground” Clash Magazine
The release of ‘Strange Beauty’ follows singles “Relight feat. Laura Roy & Woddy Green”, the Japanese Bossa Nova inspired “Noa Noa feat. Emilia Anastazja”; and the mystical and uplifting “Love Dancer feat. FiFi Robo”.
Talking about ‘Strange Beauty’ Hemai says “It’s a complicated process making a piece of work which is so emotionally connected to myself. It’s so hard to let it go into the world. Bloody scary even. And I know others can relate. But I trust it will find its place in the world. The feeling of content is real, because there is hope in my heart that it will touch at least one person on earth and maybe help guide them to a place of peace. A place of comfort. That is the purpose.”
The vivid and visceral world of ‘Strange Beauty’ is unearthed with opener “We Could Be Jaded feat. Layfullstop”. From the first notes of Melbourne-based musician Erica Tucceri’s flute, the electric warmth of the LP is ignited; “the arrangement takes the shape of the horizon”, Hemai explains. Though indicating the beginning of a journey, the track embraces the importance of being grounded in the present, enticing the listener into the experience of Hemai’s ‘Strange Beauty’, and find that place of peace, of comfort.
Hemai utilises the elements around him as a driving force throughout the LP. From the imagery of a beautiful sky on “Awake Indigo feat. Ruby Wood” – a song born out of his love for music that makes you dance, featuring the Submotion Orchestra vocalist – to the beach and coastal ideas that inspire the freedom and boundless instrumental tracks “When Day Breaks” and “Gone Fishing”, the release radiates the joy and spirit that only the natural world can provide. On “Bandit’s Pocket”, featuring FiFi Robo on vocals, Hemai comments “it’s about the corruption that the materialistic realm can bring to our minds. We are all guilty of a little greed (or at least I am) to some measure but it always seems to be love that pushes us past it. It’s all about the love”.
A Deluxe Edition of ‘Strange Beauty’, exclusive to Bandcamp, includes an extra 8 Instrumental versions of songs from the album, listen HERE
The digital release of ‘Strange Beauty’ is available to stream or buy on all other platforms HERE