Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Let's just say immediately that when it comes to music, Zelle Records out of Vienna in Austria is extremely patriotic.
About New Zealand music, that is.
According to the label's head honcho (and sole employee) Arno Loeffler, Zelle is a “one-man, vinyl-only record label dedicated to alternative rock and pop music from Dunedin and elsewhere in New Zealand”.
Their output has been modest so far – “I only have one 7" and three LPs under my belt,” says Loeffler – but there are more coming down the highway.
“ After the trial balloon single Repentance Song/Flint and Tinder by Vorn in 2014,” he tells us, “I put out Dunedin folk antihero Darryl Baser's debut album Raw Selfie in 2015, a very intimate affair which Darryl recorded on his smartphone.
“Then came the Robert Burns compilation Ae Fond Kiss in which Dunedin musicians reinterpreting songs and poems by the Scottish bard."
That collection was inspired by Toitu Otago Settlers Museum's talent contest Robbie Rocks Dunedin.
So the label invited 14 musicians to interpret a poem by Burns in their own idiosyncratic ways.
Artists include Eden Smith (who won the 2014 contest), Rosa, Rachel and Chelsea (who won the 2015 event), Bill Direen, Robert Scott (Clean, Bats etc), Hamish Kilgour (Clean), David Mitchell (3Ds) offering instrumental interpretations of Burns poems.
Also on hand are David Kilgour (Clean), Sandra Bell's band the Maitlands, Seafog and others.
And then came the Spur album by Jay Clarkson (formerly of the Playthings, They Were Expendable, Breathing Cage and a considerable solo career.
It's timely to introduce the label now because last month it released Raise Your Skinny Fist, the debut album of Port Chalmers indie outfit Seafog, the latest musical project by singer-songwriter Rob Sharma.
Zelle is certainly selective about its audience, the run of vinyl is just 300 copies but they are available in New Zealand through Powertools.
According to the Zelle website, Loeffler runs the organisation from an old desk in his lounge but it is certainly ambitious.
Loeffler says “many wonderful [New Zealand] musicians, famous, semi-famous or utterly, yet unrightfully obscure, have been sitting on tons of unpublished material for ages.
"Or they have only put out downloads or CD’s so far, or they just haven’t found the right label yet to make a vinyl record with.
“We want to change that.”
So let's see if we can help by offering a few samplings from Zelle . . .
And if anything here interests you then check out the lable at its website here.
Meantime . . . .
This is Bill Direen from the compilation Ae Fond Kiss album
And this is from the new Seafog album
And this is Jay Clarkson live with a song from Spur