Absolute Elsewhere

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THE BEATLES AS BORROWERS (2021): Just let me hear that . . .

16 Feb 2021  |  <1 min read

As original as they were, the Beatles – especially in their early days – drank from some very deep wells of rock'n'roll, country and black American soul. As we noted in What the Beatles Knew By '62, they had an enormous repertoire of covers in their armory, so when they came to write originals they knew how songs worked and could mix'n'match styles to create something of their... > Read more


13 Feb 2021  |  2 min read

In the early 2000s, sitting in his office six floors above midtown Manhattan, Bruce Lundvall had every reason to be happy. As head of Blue Note Records – the company which defined the sound of classic jazz and the look in the 50s and 60s with artists like John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock – he'd rescued the label, which had faltered in the 70s, to make it the... > Read more

AN OFF-RAMP OF THOKEI TAPES (2021): Spools of sound from home and abroad

7 Feb 2021  |  3 min read

Elsewhere has previously written about Thokei Tapes out of Germany, an independent company specialising in cassette tapes of New Zealand artists not on the main motorways of music, or those on the road who have turned off for a while. That has meant compilations of obscurities and rarities by artists such as Chris Knox, Robert Scott (Bats, Clean), David Yetton (JPSE, Stereo Bus), Magick... > Read more

GRAEME DOWNES, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2021): There is a Doctor in the house

5 Feb 2021  |  1 min read

There has never been anyone like Graeme Downes in the broad landscape of New Zealand music. An internationally acclaimed academic for his research on the composer/conductor Gustav Mahler and 19thcentury symphonic music, Dr Graeme Downes is perhaps better known at home and abroad as the writer and singer of the Verlaines, the Dunedin band which arrived in the first wave of... > Read more

THE BEE GEES' STORY AND LEGACY (2021): The final curtain call

23 Jan 2021  |  4 min read

When Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who knows a thing or two about siblings singing together, inducted the Bee Gees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 97 he called them “Britain's first family of harmony”.  But that Bee Gees aural signature was only part of their story. As songwriters with work performed by artists as diverse as Nina Simone, the Animals, Barbra... > Read more

TREES: FROM ARCHIVES INTO A BOX (2021): Seventies Brit-prog-folk onna psyche-American trip

26 Dec 2020  |  4 min read

To be honest, the British folk-rock band Trees never meant anything to me during their brief heyday of just a few years -- and one further album -- after their 1970 debut The Garden of Jane Delawney. In fact, the only time they passed my sight (and not even hearing at the time) was with the cover of that second album On the Shore on which a young girl is freeze-framed spinning a stripe of... > Read more



21 Dec 2020  |  11 min read  |  1

Well, we did ask . . . and are delighted that people have responded. Last week it was The Editor's Choices (40 of the best albums that we wrote about in 2020) and now it was your turn. Delighted of course that many of you said that Reb Fountain, Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple and others we chose would also have been in your hit list . . . but by inviting you to pick ones... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY'S LOCKDOWN PROJECT (2020): Controlled chaos and creation in the studio

18 Dec 2020  |  4 min read

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . . .   Paul McCartney could always talk up a good album in advance of its release, although the music itself was often uneven. He'd do an exclusive interview in which he'd drop Beatle and George Martin anecdotes, but generally not say much other than to mention a few pointers... > Read more

2020, THE YEAR IN REARVIEW: Sounds from solitude

18 Dec 2020  |  6 min read

It was the year that mostly wasn't, the year when Zoom entered our lives and vocabulary, and people stayed in or stayed apart. It was a year when 18-year old Jawsh685 (Joshua Nanai) from Manurewa High went global with a beat and melody he wrote on his broken laptop (Laxed, Siren Beat) and the 79-year old Bob Dylan surprised with a double album Rough and Rowdy Ways which was... > Read more


12 Dec 2020  |  13 min read  |  5

Some people dislike end-of-year lists, others enjoy agreeing and/or arguing with them. Either way, they exist and most people read them. Our “best of” list always comes with some caveats: we only ever pick from albums we've reviewed (we heard many more but if we didn't have time to write about them... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2020): From Monk to the moon and beyond

12 Dec 2020  |  1 min read

The life of keyboard player, composer and innovative jazz musician Murray McNabb was full of ironies. He was a jazz (and beyond) player who was initially inspired by Thelonious Monk but mostly earned his living anonymously writing advertising jingles. He co-wrote the music for one of New Zealand’s most successful feature films but his is not the name most people... > Read more

A LANDSLIDE OF PROVOCATIONS FROM RATTLE (2020): Five albums in five days?

29 Nov 2020  |  4 min read

In its first 15 years after it was launched, the Auckland-based label Rattle was averaging just one release a year. In 2021 the label will celebrate its 30thanniversary and since the late 2000s the release schedule has really hit a cracking pace of albums which cover avant-garde music, classical (traditional and contemporary), jazz, taonga puoro, quasi-pop and everything else which rarely... > Read more

COLLABORATION AND CONNECTION IN THE 21st CENTURY (2020): Psathas, Hooker and digital file sharing

29 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

Three decades ago the American composer Philip Glass fended off a question about “crossover albums”. He preferred to talk of crossover audiences. Glass was observing that those who liked Talking Heads, for example, would also probably listen to the Kronos Quartet or his music. Frequently we see musicians with eclectic tastes pushing into new areas and often... > Read more

LENNON REMEMBERED, AND REMIXED (2020): Does he still shine on?

28 Nov 2020  |  4 min read

When the Beatles were breaking up, more over money and management than over Yoko Ono's permanent presence, Ringo Starr was despatched to see Paul McCartney to tell him that he should delay the release of his solo album McCartney. This was because it would go up against the Beatle's patched-together and patchy Let It Be, scheduled for release a few week later. McCartney was... > Read more

UNKLEFRANC, GRAPHIC DESIGNER, AT THE BIG IDEA (2020): The visual gateway into music

11 Nov 2020  |  1 min read

Auckland graphic designer Carolyn van Hoeve prefers to be interviewed by email (her answers forthcoming and considered) and the website for her company UnkleFranc is best described as skeletal: no bio, few photos of her work, some allusive images and a blank page headed “things we haven't thought of yet”. There is however a quote from this writer which notes her work as... > Read more

JAWSH 685 and BENEE (2020): The kids are alright

29 Oct 2020  |  3 min read

When Laxed (Siren Beat)– a simple instrumental by an Auckland teenager – recently became a global hit after US R'n'B star Jason Derulo added lyrics to create Savage Love (Laxed-Siren Beat), there was understandable skepticism in some quarters. After all, 17-year old Joshua Nanai of Samoan and Cook Island background – who is known as Jawsh 685 or Joshua... > Read more

JOHN LENNON AT 80 (2020): Lennon's on sale . . . again!

9 Oct 2020  |  1 min read

The well of John Lennon's solo music is drained dry. In the 40 years since, Double Fantasy, the last album released in his lifetime (with half the songs by Yoko Ono), there has been the posthumous Milk and Honey (further sessions with Ono for an intended album of that title apparently), any number of compilations, the Acoustic album in 2004, the 4-CD box set Lennon released around what... > Read more


18 Sep 2020  |  5 min read

Some time between Elsewhere reviewing his latest album as The Cakekitchen, Trouble in this Town Again and him ending up in hospital with a broken collar bone, Graeme Jefferies kindly sent Elsewhere four of his Cakekitchen releases from the early 2000s. None of these were readily available in New Zealand and they were recorded in Germany when he... > Read more

RUBY SOLLY, AT THE BIG IDEA (2020): Pōneke, poetry & personality

16 Sep 2020  |  1 min read

When Ruby Solly was in Victoria University's jazz school, she studied cello. “Yeah. Superfruity, I know. And there was this idea that I'd never get any work. It was constantly said that if I was lucky, I might get a job on a cruise ship. “I heard that. A lot. “But there aren't many cellists around who can play without scores, and also I'd played in metal bands,... > Read more

KATE OWEN, A VIDEO ALBUM IN THE MAKING (2020): Coping with Covid cleverly

9 Sep 2020  |  1 min read

When singer-songwriter Kate Owen released her album Not a Proper Girl back in March, Elsewhere was impressed and noted that she needed to be seen in concert to be fully appreciated. Of course then the world changed and most people were forced to stay at home.  During lockdown while many did Zoom concerts (with varying degrees of success), Owen made a sries of short films about the... > Read more