With the release of 2017’s full-length debut, Phase, Melbourne-based psych jazz/jazz funk/jazz fusion outfit Mildlife — multi-instrumentalists Jim Rindfleish, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan — exploded into the national and international scenes. The album, which was a mind-bending mix of jazz, jazz fusion, krautrock, 70s psychedelia rooted in trippy grooves, became a word-of-mouth sensation among open-minded, crate-digging DJs searching for that perfect, seemingly undiscovered or little-known incredible groove.
Phase was also a sensation internationally. The album was praised by a nubmer of media outlets internationally, including Resident Advisor, Uncut, The Guardian and others. The album earned several award nominations including Best Album at the 2018 Worldwide FM Awards, Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2018 AIR Awards and a Best Electronic Award nomination and win at the Music Victoria Awards. The Aussie outfit’s full-length debut also received airplay from BBC Radio 6. And adding to a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the members of Mildlife won over fans with a loose-limbed, free-flowing improvisational approach to their live show, which they took on tour with Stereolab, JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and Harvey Sutherland.
Building upon that momentum, Mildlife’s first national headlining tour was sold-out, and they quickly followed up with a ten-date UK and European Union tour.
Mildlife’s sophomore album, 2020’s Automatic was a stylistic shift for the acclaimed Aussie outfit. The album’s material was much more danceable, but while continuing their unerring knack for knowing when to let a track luxuriate and stretch out — without being self-indulgent. The album received critical applause internationally while earning the Aussie outfit an ARIA Award win.
Unable to play shows in person in front of living, breathing, sweating and dancing humans because of the pandemic, the band traveled by boat to a long-abandoned 19th century fort on South Channel Island, just outside of Melbourne, where they performed material from both Phase and Automatic for a 70-minute concert film and live album, Live from South Channel Island.
The acclaimed Melbourne-based outfit’s latest single “Return to Centaurus” is their first single bit of new material since the release of their sophomore album. Clocking in at a little over 10 minutes, “Return to Centaurus” opens with droning synths and leads into Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd-meets-space rock-like introduction, with Kraftwerk-like vocoders. By around the 2:40 mark, the song quickly morphs into some hook-driven acid funk with loping yet supple bass lines, shimmering funk guitar riffs, glistening space-age synths, bursts of fluttery flute and intricate yet propulsive drum patterns. Rooted in the Aussie outfit’s love of 70s psychedelic and cosmic sounds, the new single serves as a reminder of their seemingly effortless mastery of mind-bending and unhurried trippy grooves.
Directed by Jordan Gusti, the accompanying video for “Return to Centaurus” sees the quartet longing around a sleek and artful, mid-century mod-meets 70s space age/futuristic living room, seemingly absorbed in deep, brooding thought. Through a series of mesmerizing, slow zooms, the video reveals the cosmos both within and without.
“We liked imagining a room that our minds inhabit together while we’re in hyper sleep on the way to a distant constellation,” the band says of the new single and accompanying video. “As our bodies lay still in a capsule tucked in the closet of a fast-moving craft, our minds meet in this artificial room designed by someone or something else. The room is a tool to keep our minds limber as our human forms spin against time in the physical world. Is it a room within a room though? Does your body lay still in a capsule as your mind watches this clip? Are we all returning together? Who knows. It was fun to draw on each other and watch Adsy take his true form as the silver Mark anyway.”