Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sideways 2000

ONSIDE: For a musical bit on the side, listen no further than the selections of sounds on local compilation Sideways. 

By Peter McLennan, Pavement magazine, 2000

Sixteen months ago, Auckland DJ/producer Stinky Jim (AKA James Pinckney) began developing a germ of an idea that he had bubbling away in the recesses of his dub-addled brain. The result of his labours is Sideways, a compilation that bears the endearing subtitle "a sizzling selection of stinking southern hemispherical sounds".

A collection of some of the finest sonic sorcerers from around these parts, the album delivers tracks mostly written and recorded especially for this disc, and includes such artists as SJD, Sola Rosa, Mood Unit, Pains People, Juse, Submariner, Dooblong Tondra, International Observer and Pinckney's own outfit Phase 5, to name but a few.

''It's an idea that's been kicking around for a while between myself and Richard Whittington from Rockers Hifi,'' explains Pinckney. "Richard has always taken an interest in New Zealand music. He's done stuff with Unitone Hifi, Phase 5 and Short Fuse. He's just an open-minded musical geezer.

"We discussed it as something from over here that could be good for their label [Different Drummer] over there. When they played here last year, it was just obvious that there's been a surge of lots of interesting music from lots of different angles. You could pull something together that would be cohesive enough but the quality would be there."

Pinckney fired half a dozen tunes across to the UK to convince Whittington it was a workable idea.

Once he got the thumbs up, he set about pursuing a swag of musical delights. "I wanted each tune to be hand-picked,'' says Pinckney. "I chose songs from people's live sets and so on. It's taken a long time to do it but it does stand out. The thing that attracts me to all of them is that none of them are just genre- peddlers. They're not just chucking out tunes.

They're all trying to do something a little bit sideways, a little bit bent. And, of course, I like them all."

All of the Sideways artists are independent in more than just their musical approach. "None of them are signed to a major label," observes Pinckney.

"They've all got an independent spirit and that comes across in their music. A lot of them have also released their own recordings. These people have all forged their own path and it's fantastic for me, having lived here for 10 years. It's the first time I've really felt that you could scoop up a dozen folks like that and make it work in that way."

Pinckney put his belief into action, fronting up the cash to pay for the release of Sideways on his own label, Round Trip Mars Records. No Arts Council hand-outs here, just a slice of savvy local enterprise.

The compilation is scheduled for release in the UK and Europe on Different Drummer early next year.

There is also the possibility of a US release too, leaving Pinckney confident that when Sideways hits foreign soil, at least four or five of the artists on the compilation will attract interest from record labels overseas.

"There's this surge of bubbling talent out there who don't want to play by the same old genre rules,'' enthuses Pinckney. "It's really exciting. Finally, the edges are getting more blurred again. It's cool!''

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