Wilurarrakutu is the brilliant debut from Papunya-based artist Keanu Nelson, an intimate exercise in musical storytelling and reflection. The album's eight tracks, sung in both Papunya Luritja and English, are verses of prose and poetry pulled directly from Nelson's personal notebooks and set to minimalist, DIY electronic arrangements.
The evocative musical backdrops—featuring Casio keyboards, drum machines, and subtle synth flourishes—were created in collaborative sessions between Nelson and Sydney producer Yuta Matsumura. The two met by chance on Matsumura's visit to Papunya last year. Their impromptu jam sessions form the foundation for Wilurarrakutu's low-key sonic palette, influenced in parts by Papunya's strong local gospel music scene as well as the reggae beats often passed around the remote community via USB sticks and mobile phone transfers.
Over these soundscapes, Nelson sings of family, friends, heritage, and culture, with a tone that balances joy and melancholy. They're themes and emotions that also echo through his work as a painter at the Papunya Tjupi Arts Centre. In this way, Wilurarrakutu becomes an extension of his art practice - a graceful audio portrait of place that evokes the resonance of home.
For the chance to win a vinyl copy of this week's Album Of The Week, Triple R subscribers can enter here before Sunday 3 December 2023. We have a prize policy of 1 album per subscriber per month so we can share the love and make it fair for all!