Monday, March 19, 2012

Home, land and sea

Home, land and sea: Situating music in Aotearoa New Zealand is a recently published (2011) collection of academic writings on our music. It's edited by Glenda Keam and Tony Mitchell, and covers hiphop, reggae, Polynesian  and Maori music, sounds from the Mainland, and there's a chapter titled "DIY or DIT: Tales of making music in the capital" which starts off by quoting extensively from several pointed comments off a Simon Sweetman 2009 blog post where he rubbishes Fat Freddys Drop. Sweetman referenced in academic journals - there you go.

There's also a reference to AK79 that mistakenly credits it to Simon Grigg's Propeller label - it came out on Bryan Staff's Ripper Records. Grigg was involved in the 1993 CD release of AK79, released by Propeller/Flying Nun (p122  - sorry, Tony Mitchell. You also misspelled Propeller as Propellor. And the release date in the discography for that chapter says 2003).

Don McGlashan says in the afterword "The essays in this book all ask the question; Does New Zealand music sound like it comes from New Zealand, and if so, what does it sound like?"

In the chapter called 'Oh, reggae but different!' The localisation of roots reggae in Aotearoa, written by Jennifer Cattermole, there's a great quote from Herbs' member  the late Charlie Tumahai... it talks to the notion of the existence of Pacific reggae, and what that means...

"What I was playing was West Indian style reggae, roots reggae. It wasn't until I put one against the other - playing Herbs, then Marley, Herbs, then Black Slate, then it struck me... the key to it for me was Herbs have more of a roll. The roots reggae is more of a staccato style; they leave holes, take things away. It's very heavy. Whereas the Herbs rhythm is more of a rolling thing, quite smooth. It came home to me when the Wailers walked into one of our rehearsals, and they clicked. They said 'Oh, reggae, but different!'I said yeah - it took me a while too."

Offical blurb: "Home, Land and Sea presents twenty different viewpoints on music in Aotearoa,New Zealand. A selection of experts examine the vast range of music production in this country and relate it to what it might say about our homeland, our diverse population, our landscape and our identities.

The collection surveys traditional and popular music created by Maori and Pacific Islanders, distinctively Polynesian brands of reggae and hip hop, the music of migrants from such areas as Latin America, China, Japan and Greece, the electronic and instrumental music traditions made more local by Douglas Lilburn, the internationally recognised 'Dunedin sound' of the Flying Nun label, and the eccentric electroacoustic of 'outsider' musicians, revealing an ever-increasing diversity of music in New Zealand.

Home, Land and Sea is the first comprehensive academic study incorporating contemporary popular, experimental and art music practices in New Zealand. Written for a tertiary audience it will be of relevance to scholars of a variety of disciplines including music; media and communications; cultural studies; sociology; anthropology and geography."

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