Requiem’s new album Louvres is a rapper’s document of observation and personal growth following his departure from Melbourne and immersion into life in Australia’s Top End. The title itself references the iconic pre-Cyclone Tracy window treatments, the view from which serves as a poignant metaphor for Requiem’s perspective and, importantly, how it’s changed as his years in Darwin shaped him for the better.
Featuring production from acclaimed in-demand beat makers Cam Bluff (Hilltop Hoods, Illy, Allday, Dylan Joel), Dyl Thomas (Milwaukee Banks), Mdusu (The Tongue, K21) and UK grime rising star Arctic, as well as collaborations with Northern Territory artists including acclaimed songwriters Dave Crowe and Jacinta Price, John Coulehan – frontman for Darwin rock band Roymackonkey, Abbey Rose and MCs Kouf and Skank, Louvres is a postcard from a frontier town above the Tropic of Capricorn many are curious about but few have experienced.
Initially unsure about starting life in a new town, Requiem immediately wrote an EP [Digital Blues] dedicated to Melbourne on arrival. It was the sight of an abandoned shopping centre doubling as a massive graffiti mural that assured him of the presence of likeminded art-lovers in his new found home, inspiring the spoken word piece ‘Waterproof’ and from there Requiem began to find stories everywhere. As his experiences formed the nucleus of the album’s title track, he fell into deep appreciation for the Indigenous Larrakia people, the tendancy of the weather to control the moods and actions of the locals and the ease with which he was welcomed into Darwin’s music community.
The weather – tropical monsoons, sultry humidity – is in turns audible and literal in the LP, particularly in the NT Song of the Year Award-finalist ‘Early AM’, a tune about late night creativity; the dreamy-but-upbeat ‘Nutrition’, hazy-hot ‘Keluar’ and the trap-like ‘Tropical Low’. Elsewhere, Requiem confronts his personal battles in ‘Again’, as well as the dangerous romanticism of drinking culture in ‘False’.
Two artists from opposite ends of the Territory join Requiem on ‘Up North’, rappers Kouf and Skank, in an organised cipher which speaks on behalf of every contributor: ‘NT shaping our style / from the desert to the tropics, red dirt to forest.’Visiting hip hop luminaries like Illy, Drapht, Seth Sentry, Horrorshow, Jackie Onassis, Spit Syndicate and Jimblah have also supported Requiem’s diversion into new sonic territory, inviting him to open shows for them since his arrival into Darwin.
It’s a vote of confidence for recording his view through Northern Territory louvres, with a Melburnian lense and a writer’s eye for detail. Ahead of an album tour boasting shows with Seth Sentry and Jimblah, respectively, Requiem launched his single, and title track, ‘Louvres’ at InTune Music Conference, Darwin on June 26-27. Louvres will be released on Minimal Aesthetics on July 31