Album Review: Jordan Rakei – Origin

14 June 2019 | 12:27 pm | Guido Farnell

"[D]ives deep into joyously chill soul vibes."

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Jordan Rakei confidently drops his third album, which dives deep into joyously chill soul vibes. 

Rakei doesn’t deal in retro thrills, rather he works elements of electronic music, pop, jazz and even R&B to provide a modern context for his deeply soulful croon. Ostensibly, Origin is an album inspired by potential dystopian futures, but it is surprisingly uplifting. While the subject matter has the potential to feel bleak, there is plenty of hope shining through this album and Rakei comes off sounding like something of an optimist and a bit of a romantic too.

A New Zealander who grew up in Australia and recently moved to London, Rakei is a prodigious talent who, as a singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, has matured rapidly in the past few years. There’s a certain sophistication about the swooning strings of Speak and the piano break on You & Me. Rakei’s intricately detailed arrangements are the product of his meticulous approach. The playful shimmer and sizzle of the electro-acoustic mix drips with warmth and emotion. There are nods to Stevie Wonder across this album, the anthemic Mantra most strongly reflecting this influence as Rakei soul-searches his heart and mind to find his mantra. Immersive listening that meditates on the realities of these times.