Cultural Elsewhere

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A PROVOCATION OF RATTLES (2018): Digressions, sojourns, shadows and sonorous sounds

10 Apr 2018  |  4 min read

If it is a murder of crows and a clowder of cats, why not “a provocation of rattles” to describe a bunch of new contemporary music releases on the Rattle label? Rattle out of Auckland has become the preeminent label for improvised music (aka jazz) and contemporary music (aka classical) as well as holding the banner high for taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments, often in... > Read more


28 Feb 2018  |  2 min read

When Elsewhere wrote about the 1965 album Take A Heart by the British group the Sorrows, we noted the cover image and said you could probably pick the year just by looking at it. It was, as we wrote (with supporting images) very much one of the many which were a trickle-down of Robert Freeman's classic cover for With the Beatles which appeared in November '64. That stark image was so... > Read more

LEONIE HOLMES AND EVE DE CASTRO-ROBINSON CONSIDERED (2018): Classical, contemporary and beyond . . .

5 Feb 2018  |  4 min read

Leonie Holmes and Eve de Castro-Robinson would seem to have much in common. Both are composers, both are lecturers in composition at the University of Auckland's School of Music, both have had their works performed widely and have CDs released on Atoll, and both . . . And here the thread runs out, because each works in very separate idioms within the broad church of what we call... > Read more

VOLUME SOUTH AT MIT (2018): The songs and stories from the streets

2 Feb 2018  |  3 min read

The Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa exhibition -- seven decades of New Zealand popular music -- which ran at the Auckland museum from late 2016 to May 2017 was an extraordinary success. It had more than 200,000 visitors – in excess of the museum's predictions – and a younger demographic came, and people spent more time in it than for other... > Read more

LINZI NAPIER PROFILED (2018): The colouring of art and imagination

29 Jan 2018  |  2 min read

Those Elsewhere readers who have seen our pages and reviews of the music of Leeds-based multi-discipline artist Chris Wade (who goes by the name Dodson and Fogg) know that we frequently refer to the cover illustrations by his partner Linzi Napier. Her colourful paintings invite the viewer in, but also possess the suggestion of something else going on. Many of her works capture... > Read more

THE OLD ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO (2017: Headlong into the past . . .

20 Nov 2017  |  1 min read  |  1

Previously Elsewhere has offered a three-part series of images of the breathtaking and cutting edge -- but human-scale -- new architecture of Oslo, the capital of Norway. But the city also has its older areas around the centre . . . although admittedly many buildings are undergoing gentrification because the new architecure has brought a younger demographic into those areas for the... > Read more

THE GENIUS OF ZAHA HADID (2017): The pulling power in Seoul

12 Sep 2017  |  4 min read

If anyone doubts the pulling power of great architecture and design to re-invigorate a city and lure tourists they need only consider one word: Bilbao. In the Eighties, this city in the Basque region of northern Spain was in economic free-fall: Industries were failing or in decline, unemployment – especially among the young – was climbing and the city of some one million... > Read more

THE ART OF THE OILS (2017): Iconography and imagery on Midnight Oil album covers

5 Sep 2017  |  3 min read

When it came to rock culture and how artists presented themselves on album or EP covers, the Australians were about a decade ahead of New Zealanders in cultural and artistic associations with their homeland. The jazz fusion group Ayers Rock, for example, not only appropriated the European name of Uluru in the red centre but also had a cutout image of the rock on the cover of their '74... > Read more

EVE de CASTRO-ROBINSON'S NEW WORKS FOR PIANO (2017): Pictures made into sound

14 Aug 2017  |  1 min read

In her new work for solo piano – a zigzagged gaze, 10 piano pieces -- the New Zealand composer Eve de Castro-Robinson was “let loose among the art collection of the Wallace Trust” which she describes as “a gleeful trawling through riches” in the liner notes to the new Rattle release by pianist Henry Wong Doe. On that album Pictures, Wong Doe interprets... > Read more


PRINCE EUGEN'S WALDERMARSUDDE IN STOCKHOLM (2017): The prince and the painters

14 Aug 2017  |  3 min read

Although most people discreetly draw a veil around the private life of Prince Eugen of Sweden, you can't help note the homoerotic quality of the male nudes in his art collection. Or the absence of women in his inner circle of friends. Prince Eugen – born into a liberal royal family in 1865 as Eugen Napoleon Nicolaus Jansson, fourth in line to the throne... > Read more

THE NEW ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO, PART THREE (2017): Operaen; The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet

9 Aug 2017  |  3 min read

In the first two parts of this brief series about the architecture of Oslo, we looked at the new developments in the Barcode area and around the Renzo Piano-designed Astrup-Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. The centrepiece of Oslo's archirtectural regeneration and development however is the undeniably beautiful and strikingly innovative home to the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, a landmark... > Read more

THE NEW ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO, PART TWO (2017): The Tjuvholmen district

7 Aug 2017  |  2 min read

In the first part of this photo essay-cum-envy tourism look at the new architecture of Oslo, we turned the camera onto the small and developing area known as Barcode which is emerging behind the city's magnificent opera and ballet hall on the water's edge. More on that building in Part Three, but here we look to the small peninsula beyond AkerBrygge just a few minutes walk from City... > Read more

THE NEW ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO, PART ONE (2017): The Barcode development

31 Jul 2017  |  2 min read  |  1

Although the jewel in Oslo's architecture is the breathtaking Norwegian National Opera and Ballet building -- pictured here, like a glacier on which people can walk on and through -- there are many spectacular examples of 21st century design everywhere. Not the least of course is the Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art with its huge curved roof and passageway between... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: THE ARTIST AND HIS 'ON THE ROAD' SERIES (2017): The travelling musician as snapshot painter

24 Jul 2017  |  2 min read

Although most people, including many longtime followers of his music, only know of Bob Dylan's paintings because of his Self Portrait and The Band's Music from Big Pink album covers many decades ago, he has long pursued a creative outlet through the visual arts. He makes large scale sculptures and has presented a number of themed painting and graphic exhibitions in recent years, notably the... > Read more

THE BEATLES' SGT PEPPER'S COVER (2017): An image for all seasons

22 May 2017  |  2 min read

Within weeks of the release of Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50 years ago, its front cover image -- photographed and constructed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth -- was being copied, parodied and appropriated. Numerous bands and companies down the decades have used the idea, and Frank Zappa was quick to grab onto it for the Mothers of Invention album We're Only In It... > Read more

Good Morning Good Morning (Basic track, from Anthology 2)

BOB MARLEY'S INFLUENCE ON MUSIC AND CULTURE IN AOTEAROA (2016): A panel discussion with Tigi Ness, Leonie Hayden and Graham Reid

6 Feb 2017  |  <1 min read

It was my pleasure to take part in this panel discussion -- hosted by Duncan Greive -- about the importance and impact of Bob Marley in New Zealand popular music and culture. This was the inaugural panel discussion/podcast which launched the Spinoff's Pod on the Couch series of discussions and debates. The discussion was prompted by the release of Stir It Up; Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob... > Read more

THE BEAUTIFUL ONES, written and directed by HONE KOUKA

19 Nov 2016  |  3 min read

Although not without its problems – uneven pacing and a curious lack of necessary theatrical conflict between some key characters – this energetic production gets by on youthful vigour, terrific songs, exceptionally athletic dance and flashes of wit which neatly undercut the serious surface. Writer/director Kouka of Wellington's Tawata Productions says the genesis of the... > Read more

VOLUME, MAKING MUSIC IN AOTEAROA at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

1 Nov 2016  |  7 min read

This is the article I wrote for Metro magazine about the Volume exhibition which is currently running at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. People say it a lot: As you get older you can't remember last week, but your childhood comes rolling in with great clarity. As someone in peril of being described as “elderly” by a fresh young journalist, I can tell you in my case this... > Read more

I WAS A RABBIT: Photography of Zwines & the Auckland punk scene, AK 78/79

5 Oct 2016  |  1 min read

Those of us who were there -- and Elsewhere freely admits to only having been there four times -- will attest that Zwines club in Auckland was where the NZ punk live scene first happened. By chance or coincidence Zwines was in the same old brick heritage building which housed the rebellious Beat-era pop-rock bands of the Sixties such as Larry's Rebels. The building which is now a... > Read more

I Am a Rabbit, by Proud Scum

THE STORY OF THE SEMER LABEL (2016): The fall and rise of the house of Hirsch

11 Jul 2016  |  3 min read

Tragically, it seems, the appalling lessons humanity should have learned from the Nazi era have been forgotten – or worse, not even known – by far too many people today. While most haven't quite got the Hogan's Heroes rear-view of that time (Gosh, what merry japes they got up to and fooled those silly SS and Nazi types?), it does seem odd that George Clooney and the rest... > Read more

Kaddish (The Jewish Soldier)