It’s been four years since Kora launched its self-titled, worlds-colliding debut album, that connected the dots between funk, rock, reggae, metal, hip hop and electronic rhythms. Now this five-strong collective of fearless sonic explorers have discovered a whole new constellation of future-shocked funk, soul and r’n’b – dubbing it ‘alien funk.’
Their new album 'Light Years' steps into the unknown on a bass odyssey, eschewing guitars in favour of a high-tech arsenal of synthesisers, live and sampled drums plus the otherworldly four-part harmonies of the brothers Laughton, Francis, Stuart and Brad Kora and brother-in-arms Dan McGruer.
“Alien funk is anything out of this world electronically,” Laughton reflects. “When we began recording the album we started putting pictures of planets and galaxies on the walls of the studio as visual cues for what we wanted to explore. The whole thing with space is that it represents the unknown, and that’s how we feel about our music – we don’t know where we’re going but when we find what we like we stay with it.”
And while this eagerly awaited collection of 11 tracks has been out there exploring unchartered territory – earth bound radio stations have been more than happy to go along for the ride. Album track ‘Dreamlife’ has been on air in New Zealand for the last six weeks.
Reactions have been stellar. The marriage of live and programmed instrumentation powers the unstoppable groove that continues to drive Kora, providing the sci-fi soundtrack to a collective fascination with video game culture, cosmology and space exploration.
“When you think about a galaxy, what kind of sound do you imagine?” Dan asks. “I think about one that’s limitless, with epic hooks, twinkling synths and huge arpeggiated chords. There were no rules we needed to follow to make this album. We just went about capturing our personalities and all our different influences from electronic dance music to electro-funk to classic ’80s pop song writing and filtering them into a sound that’s undeniably Kora. That’s just the sort of band we are, taking things into out of space and onto the next level.”
Since the runaway success of Kora’s last album, which reached double platinum status in New Zealand, hardcore fans have been regularly flocking to the band’s sell out shows – and been hanging out to get a taste of the final frontier. And now their chance to be transported again by this experimental funk collective has finally arrived.