Sept 26, 2016 - Shot for Beatroute BC. Review by Gabriel Klein.
VANCOUVER — Ta-ku has just embarked on his first North American headliner tour and stopped by the Vogue Theatre to bring his brand of cinematic, melancholic instrumental hip hop to Vancouver. In tow were a drummer, keyboardists and Wafia, Ta-ku’s vocalist and fellow collaborator. Having only recently been introduced to the Australian Future Classic signee, I had high hopes for the show. His recordings impressed me with their high production value, great vocals, adept use of dusty samples and mature tone.
Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, the live show did not measure up to the quality of his recordings. It’s a pity really, since Ta-ku is clearly a talented producer.
Sadly, the same can’t really be said for his abilities as a vocalist. Both his and Wafia’s vocal performance left a lot to be desired, both sounded very flat and uninspired. They weren’t being helped by the fact that the levels were being held back due to feedback issues, but overall the disappointing vocals couldn’t be blamed solely on technical issues.
The performance was also severely hampered by the fact that the quartet stopped playing after every song, similar to what you would expect from a rap or rock show. Given the cinematic qualities of the music you would hope to be able to get lost in the sounds, but the start-and-stop nature of the set made that impossible. In my opinion the set could have really benefited from an altered format with songs flowing into each other. On the positive side, the live drummer was a bright spot and definitely lent the sound some great texture. The visual accompaniment that, I believe, Ta-ku was controlling from a second laptop was also top notch. Overall it was a forgettable night, but if the studio recordings are anything to go by there is definitely a lot of potential that just needs to be brought out in a more professional live show.