‘True North’, the collaborative EP created by Ninajirachi and Kota Banks, is the most wonderful thing. On some tracks, you’re floored by just how well Nina’s signature sharp production compliments Kota’s melodic voice. On others, it feels like you’ve been transported to a magical new world where robotic fairies dance with Jennifer Lopez and The Spice Girls. Listening to ‘True North’ is an experience that you’d never expect, but you know it’s been developed by two of the most talented artists Australia has to offer, so really, it’s magnificence shouldn’t really be a surprise.
‘True North’ is full of throwbacks to memorable moments in music. I’m not usually one to compare someone’s music to another artist’s, so let me say this isn’t a comparison at all. ‘True North’ is an epic project that stands on its own, really, some songs on the EP simply pay homage to the artists some of us grew up with and man, it’s great to hear.
‘Vice Versa’ has twinkling synths that dance over Kota Banks’ sweet vocals. Snaps bounce over cooling atmospherics and it’s pop-influenced melody really just makes you feel like you should be bursting into a coordinated dance routine ala Britney Spears when the chorus hits. The harmonies are gorgeous and the 90’s flavour sounds wonderful with Ninajirachi’s subtle electronic accents.
‘Middle Of The Night’ is similar to ‘Vice Versa’. It makes you feel so positive as warm synths beams burst alongside glitching samples and the most infectious pads. The track is drenched in vibrant atmospherics, despite its name and the club accents that Ninajirachi has added into the already danceable melody are genius. This song really just makes you want to scream ‘Middle Of The Night’ at the top of your lungs because it just sounds so liberating and fun! It’s a summer bop that throws back to the mid-00’s tracks that are just gloriously loveable.
Of course, ‘True North’ isn’t full of twinkling pop, there’s also some hard-hitting tracks full of heavy beats that make you feel like the baddest bitch on the planet. ‘Nice Girls Finish Last’ is a song that really feels empowering and visceral. A crunchy beat blends together with grumbling synths as heavy clicks snap through the textured soundscape. This is a powerful anthem, with Kota Banks’ vocals thumping over Ninajirachi’s sleek production. Is this the 2020 version of Eve’s ‘Let Me Blow You Mind’? I genuinely think so. This is a song that will bop for years to come.
The badass melodies continue on ‘Opus’, a track that has a minimal melody, but still packs a punch. The heavy beat pops beneath speedy percussion and scattered samples that give this strong track an extra edge. Kota Banks’ rap is fantastic and works so hard with the simplistic, yet empowering melody Ninajirachi has created.
Now, although a few songs on ‘True North’ throw back some amazing eras in music, other tracks simply celebrate the talents of Ninajirachi and Kota Banks coming together.
‘True North’ elevates Kota’s vocals with buzzing piano tones and echoing samples that float across a deep beat and sporadic percussion. The whole song is extremely ethereal and has splattering samples and computerised synths giving the whole track a lovely texture. This track reminds us who created this amazing EP and just how talented both Kota Banks and Ninajirachi are in their own right.
‘Leaf In The Wind’ is magical. This is a song that sounds like you’re in the presence of a nymph that may or may not have a skeleton made of steel. A dreamy harp leads the track with hollow samples following it along its journey through the sweetness of Kota’s vocals. Samples of tweeting birds appear softly in the melody and when the pixelated samples shoot across the track later on, those electronic bullets bring you back to reality and rip through the picture, creating this amazing juxtaposition that is so unexpected.
Finally, we have ‘Holy Water’. This track closes the EP with a dreamy melody that consists of shimmering synths and gentle atmospherics at the beginning, and crisp clicks, scattered pops and a hard beat that drives the whole EP home. It’s full of life and has been put together so well that everything just works brilliantly.
Some collaborations don’t make sense. Here, though, not only does the pairing of Kota Banks and Ninajirachi make sense, it feels effortlessly cool and absolutely intoxicating. ‘True North’ is an EP that no one will forget because its melodies are so intricate and so engaging that you’ll never want to stop listening to it. Kota Banks and Ninajirachi have created an electronic dream world that you’ll never want to leave.