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The Mamaku Project: Karekare (Mamaku)

The Mamaku Project: Karekare (Mamaku)

Part French chanson, part dub-influenced reggae pop, and fronted by the gorgeous vocals of Tui Mamaki, this one invents a genre of its own. It is jazzy but not jazz, there's not enough dub to make it chill-out music, and the lyrics which shuffle French and English effortless make it slightly exotic and mysterious. Oh, and there is a...

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

An Emerald City, An Emerald City (Monkey Records)

This extraordinary four-track EP by an Auckland band which is long on instrumental elegance and very short on pretention is a diamond, and like a precious gem you can turn it many ways and appreciate different refractions. These swooning, grand and widescreen instrumentals have something in common with the great US band Explosions in the Sky...

Various: Monkey Magic Vol II (Monkey)

Various: Monkey Magic Vol II (Monkey)

I doubt Auckland's Monkey Records has a motto, but I'm prepared to suggest one: "When you are smaller you have to be smarter." And although this label may be small it certainly is smart -- as this excellent CD/DVD compilation package proves. The label boasts many fine artists who have been posted at Elsewhere in the recent past...

AN EMERALD CITY INTERVIEWED (2009): The sky-high vision

AN EMERALD CITY INTERVIEWED (2009): The sky-high vision

To hear guitarist/keyboard player Sam Handley tell it, there was a magical moment when they knew: “That first hit on the drum, it just sounded 10 times bigger than normal”. In this suburban villa in Kingsland, Auckland there are nods of recognition from the assembled members of An Emerald City. They are talking about setting...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 An Emerald City:  Circa Scaria (Banished/Border)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 An Emerald City: Circa Scaria (Banished/Border)

Because the previous EP by this Auckland-based group was widely hailed at Elsewhere, and that there is now a profile of the band posted under Absolute Elsewhere, this will be brief. For my money this band is the most interesting, musically ambitious and creative I have seen in this country in many years. They possess that rarity in New...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bonner of An Emerald City

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bonner of An Emerald City

The Berlin-based New Zealand rock band An Emerald City have been refreshingly unlike any other local band. Their self-titled debut EP of 2008 showed them occupyng the territory between ambient Krautrock, psychedelia and world music at a time when the previaling styles were anxious guitar bands, earnest singer-songwriters and a twee...

Mundi: In the Blink of an Eye (Monkey)

Mundi: In the Blink of an Eye (Monkey)

Every now and again New Zealand throws up a group which has a jazz/improv aspect but looks to diverse world music for influences. Elsewhere has posted albums by Superbrew from the Eighties and, from the past decade, releases by the Mamaku Project. The prog art-rock band An Emerald City also incorporate elements from Middle Eastern-and-beyond...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tamara Smith of Mundi

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tamara Smith of Mundi

Flute player and composer Tamara Smith has been at the helm of jazz-into-world music group Mundi for almost a decade now. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, the ensemble has travelled internationally and has released two albums, their most recent being In The Blink of An Eye (reviewed at Elsewhere here). On the back of the album they...

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

An Emerald City: The Fourth (Banished from the Universe)

After their impressive self-titled EP in '08 then the expansive, cinematic debut album Circa Scaria the following year, this Auckland-based band which brought together psychedelic space-flight guitar rock with touches of world music (Middle Eastern and North African from violinist Felix Lun, plus sitar, oud, lute and odd percussion from Rob...

THE MANGANIYAR SEDUCTION: From religion and red light

THE MANGANIYAR SEDUCTION: From religion and red light

Inspiration doesn't always come in the proverbial flash. It may emerge over a period from a number of disparate sources, as it did for Roysten Abel and his theatrical staging of The Manganiyar Seduction. The 43 performers from a caste of Rajasthani musicians from Northern India are housed in four tiers of 36 separately illuminated...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists (Monkey Records)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists (Monkey Records)

Celebrating its 10th anniversary under the appealing banner "Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys!", the Auckland-based label Monkey Records is offering more than a dozen albums, a few EPs and some of its compilations at enticingly low prices (CDs are $15, EPs $10, the CD/DVD collection Monkey Magic Vol II at $20) Elsewhere has a soft spot in...

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