Global Beat Australia: Plutonic Lab, Nick Garbett with Mike Majkowski, and Lady King

KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.

KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori for this week’s Aussie artist spotlights on a slick hip-hop collab from Plutonic lab, the jazz duo of Garbetter and Mike Majkowski, and disco soul from Lady King. Catch up on all the artists from the series (plus bonus tracks!) with our Global Beat: Australia playlist

Plutonic Lab - “Casino in the Sky” (feat. Nardean, Ratu, and Raiza Biza)

Melbourne's Plutonic Lab enlists Sydney-based, Egyptian-Australian Nardeen, Ratu, and New Zealand-based Rwandan Raiza Biza for another classy hip hop production. Photo by Sam Dutch. 

Andrew Khedoori: “Plutonic Lab is out of Melbourne. He's had a really long history and is much respected in Australian hip-hop scenes for classy and challenging productions. He's also got this knack for finding collaborators both likely and unlikely, to amass what's a really great body of work over decades. He refuses to settle on a signature sound. He's done boom bap, neo soul, trip-hop, and so much more. Sometimes that can work against you, but not in this guy's case, because he knows how to create an atmosphere over everything. And that atmosphere is just perfectly sealed in with each release. 

His new EP is called ‘The New Ruins.’ It's heavy on the collaborations, and never more so than on this track, which has no less than three features, where he really digs deep to get interesting results. He's got Nardean on this track. She's a poet and a rapper with Egyptian heritage. He's got Rwandan Kiwi rapper Raiza Biza, and another rapper out of Sydney called Ratu, all bringing some different flavors to the table. But what Plutonic Lab does really well is bring them all together really seamlessly.”

Nick Garbett and Mike Majkowski - “Mid Mountains

Two conservatorium-trained musicians bring their jazz backgrounds together with a blend of styles from Miles Davis to Ennio Morricone, yet keep it uniquely Australian. Photo by Finn Ryan. 

“We’ve got a couple of guys here who were conservatorium trained in jazz. Mike Majkowski is a bass player, and Nick Garbett is a trumpeter who won one of Australian jazz music's most prestigious honors a few years back, called the Freedman Fellowship. And it's their jazz background that allows them to roam around and explore sound like painting on a blank canvas. 

That's what they're doing here on this track, which is their debut track together. ‘Mid Mountains’ is the first of an LP due in August. And there's such a great blend of styles going on here. You can hear this one coming right out of the Miles Davis ‘70s fusion playbook, with more than a hint of that classic Ennio Morricone spaghetti western atmosphere. But there's something uniquely Australian about this one in spite of those touchstones, and that's all the open space that it conjures. You find that a lot of jazz players in Australia practice out in the bush to get that sense of spice in their playing. And that's really reflected here. It's a very particular kind of Australian music in the way that it's joyous and uplifting, as well as having a real elastic sensibility. I love the way this moves.”

Lady King - “Tease Me

Lady King’s silky vocals draw on the classics with a smooth disco-laden soulful piece of work produced by Jonte. Photo by Amy Kennett. 

“Lady King, whose real name is Lara King, has already lent her silky vocals to the likes of Lime Cordiale, who had a number one album here last year. She's keeping up with all things ‘70s-feeling with this track. It sounds like she grew up on the classics, with a very smooth, disco-laid, and soulful piece of work. 

It was produced by Jonte, who's this absolute wunderkind of modern day beat excursions and productions. And now he's retro-vibing funk, soul, and disco. He was asked to join the Avalanches’ live band after he put together a tribute to them for the Sydney Opera House some years ago, so he can kind of do anything.” 





Raul Campos, Adam Burke