Saturday, September 08, 2012

Rhythm and poetry



From Soulsides, great piece on the Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984 compilation by James Cavicchia ...

"... Many years ago, I read an interview with Charles Wright where he talked about the personal importance of his ongoing attempts at staying abreast of whatever music production techniques were current, about having spent several of his “lost years” during the eighties experimenting with synthesized and programmed rhythms.

He said that one day he went to his cardiologist and was informed that his heart had developed an alarming mass of extra muscle, that the years and years of spending hour after hour day after day listening to a drum machine had forced his heart out of its natural beat and lead it to deform itself in adjustment to the brute will of technology. 

Wright, fearing for his life, abandoned this line of musical exploration immediately..."

Friday, September 07, 2012

Tape Crackers

A cosy Sunday night event of inspiring cinema on deluxe sofas, with a 5000 watt soundsystem, Kohu Rd gourmet icecream, good coffee and a full bar. At Galatos....

Tape Crackers film screening, 9th September 7.30pm

An oral history of Jungle and Pirate Radio*'Tape Crackers' is a vital documentary focussed on one guy, Michael Finch, and his amazing tape collection of pirate radio recordings made in the mid-late '90s. Michael is a passionate and thoroughly endearing orator, spilling profuse knowledge on MCs, the variety and breadth of the junglist FM bandwidth, the raves, the clothes, and most importantly, the vibe. 

Although this era only occurred little over 15 years ago, the fact that it was all pre-internet (or at least widescale internet use) gives some sharp contrast to today's fingertip cultural reach and some context that many older heads will relate to, while youngers are recommended to watch for educational purposes. 

You can just see memories wash over him with each tape he puts on, and you're reminded of the absolute frustration and euphoria of hearing a track on pirate radio that you would never ever get to find out anything about, or know who it was by, or ever get to hear again - save for the worn out cassette copy you just made. 

Apart from all the anecdotes and recollections - including a really nice overview of London's Junglist pirate radio scene of the mid 90's (even touching on the birth of Rinse), what you really get from Tape Crackers is a snapshot of a bygone era and one man's obsession with it - and it just makes for utterly compelling viewing. Don't miss.

$15 on the door BRING CASH (no eftpos avail) or thru Eventfinda
Doors open at 6- show at 7.30...

Don't touch me tomato

Sat 8th Sept at Golden Dawn (corner Ponsonby rd and Richmond rd) with selectors Tobi, Dubhead, and Peter Mac. Kicks off 8pm, free entry. Plenty bass, plenty niceness.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

J Rocc's wax



J Rocc (Stonesthrow) and his amazing record collection. Prepare to be very jealous. Hat tip to Potholes in my blog.

"The legendary Beat Junkie has an absolutely crazy collection, which includes Mickey Mouse ears he rocks during J Dilla tribute performances, a vinyl cleaner, and some ridiculously rare pieces. At one point he says he could sell just one of his records and cover rent for a month or two."

JBrown fresh beats



JBrown, the brother formerly of Kolab, drops a tasty ep of dirty hiphop and slinky house tempos. Check out Tiaha Funk, that's some fruitiness right  there.  Free download.

RNZ loses archive

"The country's largest collection of sound recordings is moving from Radio New Zealand and will now be managed by the Film Archive."

According to this report below, Radio NZ's 70,000 recordings, dating back to the 1930s, will now be managed by the FIlm Archive, although RNZ will still own the recordings and house them, despite losing the $670,000 annual funding for the sound archive.

That funding, plus an extra $300,000 and a one off $1 million payment, for digitsing the collection,will go to the Film Archive . The aim is to make the collection easily accessible to the public.

Based on this, I assume the funding to cover the storage of the archive will come out of RNZ's existing already tight budget.

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss says audio from other organisations could also be managed thru a central body, which sounds like part of the Government's ongoing push to consolidate our various archives into one.

The news item doesn't mention if there's any music held within this collection, only highlighting speeches by Keith Holyoake, The Queen, and rugby sports commentary. It also doesn't make clear why this is happening and who pushed for it, or RNZ's reaction.

      

ADDED: "The National Sound Archive is to be split from Radio New Zealand and amalgamated with the New Zealand Film Archive.

The plan was confirmed on Wednesday Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson. The handover will take place on 1 October.

Mr Finlayson said Radio New Zealand had done an excellent job of caring for the archive and the transfer gives an opportunity to build on the legacy." Source: RNZ website

The offical government statement says responsibility for the sound archive is being transferred, which tallys with RNZ's report that the material will stay housed at RNZ.


Official press release from Radio NZ on the change... (hat tip to Nat Torkington for link)

Changes to Audio Visual Archiving
"Radio New Zealand has welcomed today’s announcement of a significant increase in funding for sound archiving in New Zealand.

Radio New Zealand has agreed to transfer the day-to-day management of its sound archiving operations, Sound Archives/Ngaā Taonga Koōrero, to the New Zealand Film Archive effective from 1 October of this year.

In a joint statement, Radio New Zealand Chairman, Richard Griffin, and New Zealand Film Archive Chair, Jane Kominik, paid tribute to the staff of Sound Archives for their dedication to the task of preserving sound archival material and emphasised the value of a cooperative future that will enhance public access to the archive.

“We regard this merger as a positive step in a process that will give substance to the Government’s intention to set up a national archives incorporating a diverse range of material that reflects our country’s history.

“The sound archives operation will continue to be based in Christchurch and all current Sound Archives staff have been offered employment with the Film Archive...."

ADDED Friday Sept 7 930am: I have emailed RNZ to ask some questions,have heard their Comms Manager is replying.

ADDED: Friday Sept 7 415pm: Radio NZ CEO Peter Cavanagh has responded to my queries...

He says the costs to RNZ of housing the archive will be covered by subleasing the space: "Sound Archives staff and the collection itself will continue to be co-located with Radio New Zealand in Christchurch and Auckland. The existing accommodation occupied by Sound Archives in the two centres will be sub-leased to the Film Archive which means that the transaction will be cost-neutral for Radio New Zealand. Radio New Zealand will retain copyright in the collection after day-to-day management is transferred to the Film Archive from 1 October.

The idea to shift the sound archive "is in line with Government policy to streamline the delivery of audio visual archiving services in New Zealand."

He says "Public accessibility to the Sound Archives collection will not be affected by the transfer. Additional one-off funding of $1 million over the next two years for a digitisation backlog project should significantly improve public access to parts of the Sound Archives collection which are still in analogue form and yet to be preserved."

Fac. Dance 02


Fac. Dance 02: Factory Records 12” Mixes & Rarities 1980 - 1987 

Blurb from Strut: "On September 17th, Strut release the second album in the Fac. Dance series, bringing together sought after 12” versions and rarities from Manchester’s revered Factory Records imprint.

Revisiting the peerless studio work of Martin Hannett, Be Music (the collective pseudonym of New Order members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook) and ACR drummer Donald Johnson, among others, Fac. Dance 02 fleshes out Factory’s varied early forays into dance territory, widening the spectrum yet further from Volume One. 

The early version of A Certain Ratio’s angular funk classic “The Fox” from the band’s debut album To Each… rubs shoulders with Cheba Fadela’s Algerian rai blast, “N’Sel Fik”; Kalima’s uplifting dancefloor jazz also features, along with a sprawling electro dub of 52nd Street’s UK boogie classic “Can’t Afford”; we spotlight Dutch electronic band Minny Pops with the motorik “Blue Roses” alongside the heavy dub and reggae stylings of The Wake, X-O-Dus and ACR alter ego Sir Horatio; the Manchester / New York axis is also revisited once again with two potent post-punk funk blasts from E.S.G., the first US band to appear on Factory.

Fac. Dance 02 is released in conjunction with Factory Records Ltd. The CD and LP packages feature detailed track notes by Factory biographer James Nice, together with rare photos. The digital version of the album features five tracks not featured on the physical formats.

CD 1

1. A CERTAIN RATIO – THE FOX 3.47
2. ESG – MOODY 2.46
3. MINNY POPS – BLUE ROSES 2.33
4. THICK PIGEON – BABCOCK + WILCOX 3.44
5. BITING TONGUES – MEAT MASK SEPARATIST 4.57
6. SIR HORATIO – SOMMADUB 7.18
7. X-O-DUS – SOCIETY 4.20
8. THE DURUTTI COLUMN – SELF PORTRAIT 4.40
9. SECTION 25 – KNEW NOISE 4.43
10. SHARK VEGAS – YOU HURT ME 6.59
11. FADELA – N’SEL FIK 7.06
12. KALIMA – LAND OF DREAMS 6.47

CD 2

1. 52nd STREET – CAN’T AFFORD (Unorganised mix) 10.02
2. NYAM NYAM – FATE 8.06
3. A CERTAIN RATIO – LUCINDA 3.53
4. ESG – YOU’RE NO GOOD 3.09
5. SWAMP CHILDREN – SOFTLY SAYING GOODBYE 4.09
6. QUANDO QUANGO – GO EXCITING (12” mix) 5.57
7. SURPRIZE – IN MOVIMENTO 5.33
8. ANNA DOMINO – TAKE THAT 4.13
9. THE WAKE – HOST 7.57
10. ROYAL FAMILY AND THE POOR – VANEIGEM MIX 6.22
11. SECTION 25 – SAKURA 3.58
12. AD INFINITUM – TELSTAR 3.13

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Carl Craig Mix

If you aint seen this already... "FACT mix 345 is a live recording of Craig’s set at the Netherlands’ Welcome To The Future festival on July 28. The set – already streamed by the festival, but not available to download until now – is an absolute corker, hard as nails but fleet-footed with it, with a few tracks that you know (the Craig mix of Faze Action’s ‘In The Trees’ has never sounded so imperious as it does here) and plenty that you don’t. There’s no tracklist for this one folks, so feel free to offer your own IDs in the comments section; in the meantime, plug in and bug the f**k out." 

Silva and gold


Brand new ep on the way from local lass Silva MC called Neva Done, on the roots reggae tip. Sounding pretty cool.  Out thru iTunes etc this Friday. Or try Amplifier, over here.

"Neva Done is SilvaMC's debut solo release. Recorded in Auckland city, the four track EP includes one banging hiphop production from DJ PARKS, and three bass heavy reggae tunes to welcome Spring 2012.

As a follow up to her debut video single Here We Go Again, the release is also a showcase of SilvaMC's unique rawness and versatility. All songs written and performed by SilvaMC. Recorded at MAINZ and mixed and mastered by Tiopira McDowell.

Silva is rapidly making her mark on the NZ reggae scene. This EP will help establish her as one of New Zealand's prime female hiphop/reggae artists."

She recently featured on the Hot Nights Ep from MayaVanya (free DL of that tune, follow the link). MC Silva on Facebook.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Len Lye opera

An opera about one of my favourite artists, you say? Intriguing.

"Lye is one of New Zealand's most celebrated artists who worked for many years in Britain and the US. His international reputation is based on his innovative achievements as a film-maker and kinetic sculptor." NBR

Via Gather and Hunt: " A cast of international and national singers have come together in a kinetic explosion of colour, movement and sound to pay tribute to Lye's legacy. With music composed by Eva de Castro-Robinson, artistic direction by Uwe Grodd, and libretto Roger Horrocks, this multimedia production sounds seriously intriguing. I want to know more, I want to see more, and I think the only answer is to pop along to the Maidment Theatre at some point in the very near future. "

Len Lye: The Opera, by Eve de Castro-Robinson and Roger Horrocks
September 5- 8, 8pm. Price:  $55, tickets from: The Maidment Theatre

This film below was originally accompanied by live music, but no score has been found. In April this year in Greece, a new score was unveiled...

Music for the film of Len Lye "Tusalava" (1929)...
Alexandros Mouzas: Original music
For flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, string orchestra and live electronics
Commissioned by the Athens Concert Hall Organization
Premiere: April 28th 2012, Nikos Skalkottas Hall, Megaron -- the Athens Concert Hall
Conductor: Miltos Logiadis
Camerata -- The Orchestra of Friends of Music

David D'Ath remembered



Obituary - David D'Ath (The Skeptics), from Rip It Up, 1990. BY CHRIS MATTHEWS

"I was dreaming about drugs and strange urges, about the primeval past and the digital overload of the future, about the ride of the Valkyries and the chatter of helicopters as I opened my eyes and realised that it was 1984. I was bedded down on the floor of the Skeptics’ club “Snailclamps”. It was 9 o’clock in the morning and Wagner and the helicopters hadn’t stopped. In a darkened club, on a small stage covered with spiderwebs made of heated, stretched polystyrene, a semi-naked figure, lit by a single red spotlight, was performing the praying mantis movements of Tai Chi to the soundtrack from Apocalypse Now. It was David D’Ath...

The Skeptics: David (vocals), Nick Roughan (bass), Don White (drums) and Robin Gould (guitar), were four high school friends from Palmerston North who started playing together in 1980 (initially as X-It) doing a mixture of covers and originals. The first time I saw them was in Auckland, at the Reverb Room in 1982, after the band I was playing with had to cancel at the last minute.

The Skeptics, who were up for the weekend, agreed to step in using borrowed gear and, fuelled by the pathetic crowd, produced a set of such ferocious intensity that I became an immediate fan. The music was aggressive and unsettling but the focal point was David with his slight stature, his hooked nose and his deep-set eyes. He looked like some strange, punch drunk bird and the veins in his neck bulged as he forced mysterious words and noises from his throat.

They were still playing a handful of covers (Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ and Killing Joke’s ‘Wardance’ among them) but the song that really stood out was their own, ‘Last orders’, about a man who has wrongly predicted the end of the world. With it’s unusual riff of picked harmonics and the narrator’s frustrated chorus of “Lies! The end was yesterday!” it was a good choice for a record and later in the year became one of the songs chosen for the compilation EP Furtive Four - Three Piece Pack.

I saw them a few months later at the Rhumba bar in Auckland and the Skeptics, and David, were not only scary but funny as well. David had placed a table on the dance floor in front of the stage with a cornet on it and when it was his turn to play the others egged him on to run out, retrieve it and climb back on stage in time to produce an ear piercing blast. This ritual was repeated throughout the night and it was like watching the idiot son of Nosferatu who’d been hanging out in a David Lynch film: disturbing but blackly humorous.

The Skeptics made various trips to Auckland over the next few years in their beat-up old ambulance and from 1983-1984 ran their own club in Palmerston North. Stories had drifted north about the weird goings-on in “Snailclamps” (including one about a particularly deluded soul attempting to copulate with the PA during a Skeptics gig) so, of course, when Children’s Hour decided to tour NZ it seemed right and natural (since our bands had become friends) that we should play there (and sleep on the floor).

The club closed down at the end of ‘84 and in 1985 the Skeptics decided to move to Wellington. They’d released two records independently (‘83s Chowder Over Wisconsin and Ponds in ‘85) but neither had managed to capture the magnificence of their live performance (watching David, dangerously close to a seizure, bawling the lyrics to ‘Divine Muscles Flex’ was exhilarating) so they set about building their own recording studio, Writhe. Robin had decided to stay in Palmerston North so John Halvorsen and Brent McLaughlin, previously of the Gordons, were recruited as guitarist and mixer (although Brent later became second drummer for a while).

At this stage the Skeptics became fascinated by the possibilities of sampling keyboards and David became involved in writing music for the first time. Their sound, which had previously been guitar oriented, became more dominated by ominous loops and samples of everything from squeaking doors to Al Pacino’s dialogue from the film Cruising.

It was a very different band that appeared in Auckland in 1987 and they were stunning - songs like ‘Turn Over’ and ‘La Motta’ were thrown from the PA in a sonic storm that was beyond comparison. The sound was being created mostly by machinery but it was raw and organic and David’s voice, as always, was an instrument in itself. How anybody could wring emotion from words like “June, June, June, June, June, July, August” (from the darkly beautiful ‘Agitator’) was inexplicable but it was great to watch. And listen to.'

In 1988 they finally released the great album they’d always been capable of. Titled simply Skeptics III it was recorded at their own studio and stands out as one of the best local records of the last ten years.

At the end of 1989, as they were working on their fourth album Amalgam (to be released shortly) David learned that he had leukaemia. He spent most of this year undergoing various treatments and a bone marrow transplant. Even though his health was fairly precarious, the Skeptics still managed to play two great gigs at the Gluepot with the new songs (particularly ‘Sheen of Gold’) sounding more inventive and better than ever.

On Tuesday, 4th September, 1990, David died.

In a darkened club, on a small stage covered with spiderwebs made of heated, stretched polystyrene, a semi-naked figure, lit by a single red spotlight, was performing the praying mantis movements of Tai Chi to the soundtrack from Apocalypse Now. It was David D’Ath...
He will be remembered."

[I think I sourced this via the Skeptics FB page, thanks to whoever posted it there]

Goat - Let it bleed



Goat are some crazy ass afro psyche rock from Sweden. Check this tune. Footage from NYC in the 70s, have seen some of this in various docos on the era, looks like the Bronx.

"... Over nine pulsating tracks, Goat embark on a kaleidoscopic rollercoaster tour of Afrobeat, Latin disco, post punk, kraut drone and rampant acid rock. It's as if Spacemen 3 ate Funkadelic's Maggot Brain and a random Fela Kuti album – whole – before projectile vomiting a riot of rhythm and psychedelic noise." From an interview with Goat, at the Quietus.

Off the album 'World music', out now on Rocket Recordings. Hat tip to Martyn Pepperell at Vanguard Red

Oh yeah, they look like this...


Monday, September 03, 2012

Herbs join nz music hall of fame


There was an excellent article on the band Herbs in the Weekend Herald (not online yet, sadly updated: online here) by Alan Perrott, covering their chequered history, ahead of their induction to the NZ Music Hall of Fame by APRA. The Hall of Fame was established by APRA and RIANZ in 2007. 

The article made mention of the legal case where the current members of Herbs sued ex members back in 2010 over plans to play Herbs songs under the name Pacific Herbs at Raggamuffin (more here). The Herald reports that case cost Herbs $30,000, money they had planned to use  to record a new album.


From APRA: The New Zealand Music Hall Of Fame celebrates those artists and writers who have made a significant contribution to New Zealand through music. APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) is honoured to announce Herbs are the first inductees to be added to the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame for 2012.

"Herbs broke down a great many doors when they came onto the scene in the early 1980s. They fused Pacific and Reggae sounds into something unique and relevant to this part of the world; they gave a voice to an emerging, politically-aware audience that had grown up with the Springbok Tour, Bastion Point and Mururoa, and they gave a generation of young Maori and Pasifika musicians and songwriters a new path to follow. 


Suddenly, the spotlight had moved, and original New Zealand music could be as culturally diverse as the people who make up this country. That spotlight hasn't shifted back; it's continued to expand to this day, and the vibrant, multi-cultural music scene that we now enjoy owes much of its existence to this one band." Don McGlashan, APRA New Zealand Writer Director.

Over 30 years, eight albums and 27 members, Herbs are arguably the founding fathers of Pacific reggae in New Zealand. Throughout the bands career, Herbs have kept their musical message clear in expressing gentle but effective protest.

"Herbs have made an enormous contribution to the cultural fabric of life in this country, while forging a unique and original sound," says APRA's Anthony Healey. "This is a real honour to pay tribute to genuine pioneers in New Zealand music".

Herbs members being inducted are: Dilworth Karaka, Toni Fonoti, Phil Toms, Spencer Fusimalohi, John Berkley, Fred Faleauto, Charles Tumahai (deceased), Maurice Watene, Tama Lundon, Jack Allen, Carl Perkins, Willie Hona, Thom Nepia, Tama Renata, Gordon Joll, Grant Pukeroa and Kristen Hapi.

Herbs will be honoured and inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards, Auckland Town Hall onThursday 13th September 2012.

WATCH: 2003 interview about Herbs with Dilworth Karaka, with great footage of Bastion Point, 81 Tour, the band live etc.

ADDED Graham Reid writes on Herbs...  HERBS, NZ'S politicised reggae revolution into the Hall of Fame (2012): Hard tings an' times

ADDED Herbs have done a digital reissue of Long Ago, Light of the Pacific, Whats Be Happen and more, via Amplifier, big news!

LCD shut up



I finally managed to catch the LCD Soundsystem concert doco Shut up and play the hits at the weekend. Very entertaining, well worth checking if you like the band. Final week screening at the Academy (Auckland) - in their tiny Encore Cinema, 6 rows of seats, 3 seats wide. Had the place to myself so I could sing along and no one complained. Sweet. One of my fave moments above...James Murphy pondering age... "I was 38 and I decided to make another album and then I blinked and I was 41..."

The clip below has Murphy talking about failure, and how he came up with the song Losing My Edge, after seeing a 22 year old kid DJing the same records he'd been making a name for playing. In the film Murphy says a lot of people told him they thought it was one of LCD's funny songs, but he was totally serious about it. That song was originally going to be the b-side on their 12-inch, and even his two partners in his label DFA didn't like it.

Do just what you like



Matthew Bannister (Sneaky Feelings/Dribbling Darts) has recently posted this entertaining video up on Youtube, for his late 90s outfit The Weather.

I directed this video for the band - they already had the concept mostly worked out and the director wasn't able to do it and passed the job to me. It's basically grabbing different pop eras from thru the ages. I had fun making this video, and had a great crew working on it too. I recall coaching Matthew on some rap poses, and loaned him a t-shirt to make him look sufficiently 'hiphop'. He does a good Barbra Streisand too....