Music / Features
Track by Track -
culaccino - hot milo
Words by Sofia Jayne
Monday 21st June, 2021
Husky vocals and jazzy beats set the mood of culaccino’s new EP hot milo. These six tracks feature a combination of experimental instrumentation that create both a trance-y atmosphere and a dance-worthy rhythm. We caught up with the mastermind behind culaccino, Declan Peel, to get a breakdown of the tracks.
Written and recorded through the 2020 lockdowns and named after Declan’s favourite drink, culaccino’s debut EP hot milo is a delicious first taste of the emerging project.

A melodic groundwork of classic jazz emanates throughout the EP, but culaccino have spiced it up with a contemporary twist. At times hot milo is an acoustic lullaby of jazz, bringing to mind hints of New Orleans. But culaccino have brought the whole world to the table. Funky percussive beats with flavours of Africa entice the listener into a motion of full-body groove. Psychedelic melodies whirl through the instrumental labyrinth of these tracks, emphasising the poetic nature of their lyricism. Phoebe Parson’s vocals definitely embolden this EP with her charmingly raspy voice that echoes a wisdom deep in time.

The bonus track ‘Mexican Kitchen’ is a fun twist that differentiates from the others on the EP. Declan and Molly Krausgrill are the vocals that coincide with a beat that has hints of hip hop and funky guitar solos.

To help us dig into the new EP a little further, Declan has walked us through each track, and in the spirit of hot milo, has also recommended a drink to be pared with each tune.
eat that frog

Always good to start with a bit of a bang. This song started life as a composition project for uni, and I thought it was just too good to leave it there. Musically inspired by latin bass grooves and samba guitar, it also has a proggy, 80’s King Crimson-ish section. The lyrics are about being brainwashed by algorithms and how our lives are manipulated by technology. 

Pairing Suggestion: Negroni

warm and emotionless

This one’s a more laid back, jazzy jaunt. The music and lyrics pretty much wrote themselves in less than a whole day. This song just wanted to exist. It’s a love song dedicated to my memory foam pillow; about not wanting to get out of bed. I’m definitely not a morning person.

Pairing Suggestion: A strong latte

metallic milkshake

I recently went down a bit of a rabbithole researching Scientology and cults in general, which is where the lyrics came from. I love Mulatu Astatke, and having played in some Ethio-Jazz styled groups before, I wanted to write my own ethio groove tune. Phoebe really kills it on the vocals here and the drum sound is my favourite of the whole release.

Pairing Suggestion: Baileys

pearls of silence

Throughout the EP I try to recreate the sound of a live band, the energy and interaction that we were all missing in 2020, and the middle section is a good example of that. Lyrically, it’s about this book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, which talks about experts being able to make insanely accurate predictions within a split second. The intro drum fade in was an idea stolen from ‘Five Years’ by David Bowie, and the menacing bass groove came again from the latin world.

Pairing Suggestion: Abbottsford Invalid Stout

beige alert

Despite trying to avoid writing a lockdown/Covid song, I guess it couldn’t really be avoided. Have you ever seen the Futurama episode with the ‘neutral planet’? Beige alert. It’s how lockdowns felt to me, technically an emergency but so unexciting. A time loop. Groundhog Day. I tried to express this musically, to make the music sound beige, dull, and languishing, without being boring or a total sad sack. I think it ended up sounding like an elephant, gracefully plodding along the savannah.

Pairing Suggestion:  a glass of distilled water

mexican kitchen (bonus track)

This song was written as a joke, really, and it doesn’t fit with the other songs, but felt like putting it out anyway. Some Zappa-esque guitar soloing. Silly rhymes that were kicking around in my head. I was just trying to make something ridiculous and have some fun. I feel as though I succeeded.

Pairing Suggestion: Tequila Sunrise
hot milo is out now in all the usual places, and culaccino will be launching the EP on July 23rd at The Cactus Room.