United Kingdom-based New Zealand musician Lawrence Arabia's album Chant Darling has been awarded the inaugural Taite Music Prize.
The prize, named after renowned music journalist the late Dylan Taite, awards $10,000 to the finest album release by a New Zealand artist or group in the last calendar year, focusing on artistic merit and creative excellence.
The work of Lawrence Arabia aka James Milne, Chant Darling was recorded between November 2007 and January 2009, in Stockholm, London, Auckland, Wellington and Port Chalmers, and was produced by Milne himself.
Judge John Taite said that the album "feels like a love affair of an album... and completely out of fashion. And although the calculated rough shambles they've created can sound like the musical equivalent of spending an hour on your hair to look like you've just got outta bed, it's ultimately singular and passionate enough to feel real. Get on a plane. The world is waiting".
Another judge Francesca Rudkin described the album as "instantly beguiling and absolutely gorgeous".
The award is a first for New Zealand in its format. In a similar vein to several international awards, The Taite Music Prize's purpose is to recognise outstanding creativity for an entire collection of music contained on one album.
Milne acknowledged his prize via a video interview saying: "Thanks to everyone that's helped out with this album and the making of it, it wouldn't have happened without all of you."