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Includes unlimited streaming of Kalaji
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Kalaji is the self-titled debut album by Nyikina sound artist and electronic musician Mark Coles Smith.
Produced on Country in the North of Western Australia, the work is an astonishing combination of remote field recordings, multi-instrumentation and cutting-edge sound design, all brought together into a sonic exploration of country, culture and consciousness in the age of technology. The resulting soundtrack is one of meticulous detail and depth, with all of its focus on delivering the listener across a sonic dreamscape that is as hypnotic as it is haunting.
The artist writes: "The themes that circle and inspire the work are deeply personal, but don’t belong to me. Reflections on heritage and culture, and the intersecting relationships of technology with the natural world. There is this amalgam of influences that make me who I am, and shape what I’m interested in, both musically and culturally, there is so much about the modern world that I am in awe of and inspired by, but there are also aspects of my Nyikina heritage that extend beyond words for me. In the end, I wanted to create something fragile, and beautiful and strange, as a part of the conversation I was having with country itself."
Kalaji is the electronic musical alias of actor and artist Mark Coles Smith, a Nyikina man from the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) in North Western Australia. The project has been a long running personal exploration of Nyikina country, lore and spiritual imagery translated through his passion for sound design, audio art and field recording.
Inspired by the Nyikina word for whirlwind, ‘Kalaji’ is a dreamlike arrangement of wandering analogue synthesis and delicate acoustic sampling. Much of the lyrical material divulges partial sections of a long form mythological narrative set across multiple generations on country. Constructed through a mixture of natural and technological sound sources, the resulting composition blends a range of musical inspirations – from ambient and downtempo, through to archival audio and modern dance music.
In 2019, as part of Melbourne’s Yirramboi Arts festival, Coles Smith presented his first public performance of the Kalaji project in the form of Night River, an hour-long, immersive, live audio and video performance using material recorded and filmed in the Kimberley landscape. The performances were received to critical acclaim and led to the commission of an original score for the Melbourne Town Hall Organ.
released December 3, 2021
Written and produced by Mark Coles Smith
Album recorded on Djugun Country at Wawili Sound Studios, Broome.
Studio engineer: Petris (Jinunyili) Torres
Recording engineer: Donovan Japaljarri
Additional production: Stephan Malliate
Vocals, lyrics, synth & programming: Mark Coles Smith
Yoolbooroo spoken word: Edwin Mulligan
Live drums: Dan Konopka, Dave Bloom
Acoustic strings: Anthony Albrecht, Simone Slattery, Jonas Petersen, Gabe Noel
Acoustic harp: Timbre Cierpke
Guitar: Elwood Gray
Banjo: Harry Jakamarra
Bass: Mark Prentice
Additional sounds: Simon Eugene, Ralph Berman
Mixed by Matt Stewart at A Sharp Studios
Mastered by Joe Carra at Crystal Mastering
Designed by Luke Fraser at Grin Creative
Project coordination by Naretha Williams
Series curated & produced by Miles Brown