When it comes to instrumental albums, the sad fact is that more often than not, it can be a little difficult for the average listener to connect with them on an emotional level, as quite a lot of music relies on powerful lyrics and a passionate vocal performance to deliver the emotion, but this is categorically not the case with the self-titled offering from Aukai. Thirteen tracks of stunningly delivered acoustic instrumental music, this is one of those special albums you definitely won’t want to miss.
Aukai is perhaps best described as one of those special albums that will send a shiver down your spine on every listen; it really is that good. Although for the most part, the music is fairly simplistic, sometimes the simplest approach can be the best and this definitely rings true with Aukai. From the gently delivered guitar lines to the atmospheric cello and violin lines and the laid-back piano, the music has a light and airy feel to it and it gives a beautiful gliding sensation as the album flows from one track to the next. It’s like you’re listening to one continuous track that contains thirteen distinct sections, rather than thirteen standalone tracks – the way the album has been constructed and put together is nothing short of masterful.
One of the standout elements of the album is the extensive use of the ronroco (a stringed Argentinian mandolin-like instrument) and the beautiful tone of the instrument adds a new angle to the music. It’s used particularly well during second track Alto Paraíso, where it flows magnificently with the piano and keys; sometimes moving in sync and sometimes the different instruments doing their own thing, yet somehow it all blends perfectly together.
Although all the tracks could easily be described as amazing, the standout track for me personally is the atmospheric and quietly beautiful Wind Runner. The repeating harp line beneath the melodies works well at maintaining the track’s pace and rhythm, as well as building up the atmosphere as the track progresses, and the cello lines are spine-tinglingly delivered, particularly when coupled with the synthesised elements of the piece.
Try as I may, I can’t find a single thing to fault with this album. Quite simply: it’s perfect. If you’re on the lookout for your new favourite ambient/acoustic artist, then look no further than Aukai.