Melbourne outfit TZU is not your typical hip-hop group. Known for their combination of sampling and live instrumentation, their new release, Millions of Moments, is a concept album.
When frontman Joel Ma, aka Joelistics, picks up the phone in the Victorian capital, his excitement is palpable.
"It's a story about a girl called Persephone who becomes addicted to time travel in the form of an eye-dropper," Ma explains.
"When she travels, she experiences another person's life from a different time period in the location she takes the drug. A lot of the songs are first-hand stories of what she experiences on these trips.
"We wove real stories - like Alexander Pearce, a 19th century Australian convict - with fictional ones," he continues. "There's also a story about a stalker that's obsessed with an opera singer, which I could imagine being in 19th century Sydney.
"On top of that, you have a tale (Beautiful), which is a ghost story. I guess you could say that the release is full of vignettes and is quite gothic and dark."
While it is a haunting outing, Millions of Moments is also the crew's most electronic endeavour to date. The crew has released four albums since 2004 debut Position Correction.
"We've always been synthesiser collectors and tinkerers and on this we really just went for it. We're so proud about how much the palette has expanded. The mix of the electronic element with the maturity of our melodies and chords is massive."
Computer Love was the last TZU long-player, released in 2008. However, this lengthy time between records has proven beneficial.
"Not only has it been four years since Computer Love, but two years since (we have lived) in the same city," Ma states.
"During these years, members have been overseas, have had babies and various other big life experiences. When we got back together, we were far less interested in radio songs or fitting into a particular genre. It was all very liberating but the stylistic jump was definitely more than we'd normally do in one album."Millions of Moments is out now. TZU plays Bar 120, Hillarys, tomorrow, Amplifier on Saturday and the Prince of Wales, Bunbury, on Sunday, supported by Sietta. Tickets from Oztix.
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