Further Outwhere

Sounds beyond songs, ideas outside the obvious, possibiltiies far from pop

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Sunn O))): Metta, Benevolence (Southern Lords/bandcamp)

14 Jan 2022  |  1 min read

The wall of sound and distortion which bands like Japan's Boris and Seattle's drone metallers Sunn O))) deliver is not for everyone. Although in the case of the latter it was for the late Scott Walker who recorded Soused with them. It was the meeting of outliers who went even further outwhere. We liked it but don't play it a lot.. These three pieces were recorded in John Peel's old... > Read more

Wadada Leo Smith/Henry Kaiser/Alex Varty: Pacifica Koral Reef (577 Records/bandcamp)

10 Jan 2022  |  1 min read  |  1

Guitarist Alex Varty said this recording from 2018 – a 55 minute improvised piece – began life as what looked like a painting more than a score by trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith who refers to his graphic work as “Ankhrasmation”. “Ankhrasmation is a musical language, as opposed to a musical notation system,” Smith told music journalist Frank J. Oteri... > Read more

Pacifica Koral Reef preview

Jeremy Mayall, Yotam Levy: Elemental Stasis (Rattle Seventh House Vol 6/bandcamp)

20 Dec 2021  |  1 min read

Rattle has enjoyed a remarkable year, even by its own high standards. The launch of the Seventh House imprint of experimental and improvised collaborations has delivered albums which are more rewarding than that challenging description might suggest. This final release for the year features soundscapes by Waikato-based pianist/composer Mayall and Israeli-born cellist Levy on 10 pieces... > Read more

Transforming Status

Alan Brown: Murmur (Rattle Seventh House Music/bandcamp)

3 Dec 2021  |  1 min read

Keyboard player Alan Brown's recent ambient and improvised work has frequently found favour at Elsewhere because he often steps beyond the Eno-obvious and into rather more allusive soundscapes. As he does here when using electronic instruments to create leisurely loops and allow for effects to suggest natural elements (as on the electro-hiss of rain and wind which opens the gorgeously... > Read more

Halting Problem

Tim Green/Massimo Magee: Abeyance (Orbit577/digital outlets)

2 Dec 2021  |  <1 min read

The last time we heard from drummer Green and saxophonist Magee was very recently when – with other-drummer Tony Irving – they released the exciting but challenging free improvisation album The Clear Revolution as the Cyclone Trio. That album was recorded the day after their Cataclysm and this session by the duo was recorded just days after The Clear Revolution and takes the... > Read more

Arushi Jain: Under the Lilac Sky (Leaving/digital outlets)

8 Nov 2021  |  <1 min read

Locating her music somewhere between the meditative sound of Laraaji in the early Eighties, ambient world music, mood-establishing electronica and the Hindustani vocal tradition, Arushi Jain – originally from Delhi, studied computer science in the US then moved into synthesiser music – here offers an often weightless and seemingly effortless amalgam of all those styles. She also... > Read more

RATTLE RECORDS' SEVENTH HOUSE MUSIC IMPRINT (2021): Art for its own sake

4 Nov 2021  |  4 min read

As noted recently, Elsewhere has opened a new page in our contents, Further Outwhere, which profiles sonic artists and music beyond song. We shifted a number of previous reviews and articles into that space, quite a few of them coming from artists on Auckland's Rattle label. By chance – we did not know this at the time – Steve Garden who has helmed the arthouse label for... > Read more

SIX x TWO: THE JEFF HENDERSON DUO SERIES (2021): And tonight's guest is . . .

29 Oct 2021  |  4 min read

Auckland saxophonist Jeff Henderson should now be well known to Elsewhere readers for his wide-ranging jazz and improvised avant-garde work. Because he has been smart enough to record many of his (and others') live appearances there is now a very large catalogue of these available at bandcamp, and previously we looked at two columns on the Kiwijahzz label and the experimental guitars... > Read more

THE EXPERIMENTAL GUITARS OF AOTEAROA SERIES (2021): Twang bang and spanky you, man

17 Sep 2021  |  2 min read

Further to saxophonist/facilitator Jeff Henderson's series of interesting improv albums under the collective title Jazz from the Underground Nightclubs of Aotearoa on the new Kiwijahzz label, our attention was drawn to another series . . . Experimental Guitars of Aotearoa, the first volume of which was released in 2019 (who knew?) and the second last year (ditto). However it's the nature of... > Read more

Some Other Time (Malcolm, O'Connor)

KIWIJAHZZ. FURTHER AND FURTHERER INSTALLMENTS (2021): More notes from beneath the underground

31 Aug 2021  |  3 min read

Some weeks ago Elsewhere introduced a new jazz-and-elsewhere label Kiwijahzz, which is the brainchild of saxophonist and collaborator Jeff Henderson whose credentials here and overseas are impressive if not impeccable. Henderson is a facilitator so it comes as little surprise that during the lockdown he has had the time to go through more... > Read more

The Third Eye, by HatNoHatHat

Rob Sinclair and Bevan Revell: Pansousiance (Rattle/bandcamp)

16 Aug 2021  |  1 min read

With the self-titled album by Ferocious last year – vocals/organ Bill Direen, drums Johannes Contag and guitar Mark Williams – Auckland's Rattle label pushed its already broad parameters into experimental poetry, alt.rock and beats. Perhaps encouraged by the critical reception the album was given, Rattle now presents this equally challenging and different album by... > Read more

We Were After Hair

THE ARRIVAL OF THE KIWIJAHZZ LABEL (2021): Notes from the underground

2 Aug 2021  |  2 min read

Those with a decent memory will recall the iiii label out of Wellington which was enormously prolific and – like the Braille label back in the Eighties from the same city – revolved around a core of practitioners of improvised music. One of those iiii players was saxophonist Jeff Henderson who has appeared at Elsewhere many times in different guises (player, producer) and with... > Read more

Justin DeHart: Landfall (Rattle)

18 Jul 2021  |  1 min read

Many decades ago when this writer had a free-format radio show playing whatever music took his fancy, for perverse pleasure and to elicit a response, he would play tracks by the percussion ensemble From Scratch. Within a couple of minutes the calls would come in requesting – demanding actually – that they be taken off. From Scratch were a group which worked best when seen... > Read more

The New Music Dance (composer Robert Bryce)

rotor plus: Fugue States – After (digital outlets)

26 Feb 2021  |  1 min read

Words like “ambient” and “atmospheric” are used frequently to describe music which is often restful, quiet, spacious and understated. In recent decades these sounds have often been generated by synthesisers programmed for warmth and restfulness. Or from piano recorded so the notes have a long delay and seem to hang in the air. Brian Eno famously... > Read more

THE RETURN OF ROTOR PLUS (2020): Dream fugues and sonic inner space

23 Nov 2020  |  3 min read

It has been more than seven years since we last heard from rotor plus (sometimes rotor +) when his trilogy of remarkable albums reached their quiet but compelling conclusion with Dust. Beautifully packaged as limited edition art objects (only 300 of each) with photos and collages in the hardback CD format , these interrelated albums – Aileron in 2000, Map Key Window (2004) and... > Read more

Various Artists: Kiwi Animals (Strangelove Music/ bandcamp)

13 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

Were the Eighties the most exciting time for different and innovative music in New Zealand? Seems so. Alongside the emergence of political Pacific reggae (Herbs et al) and numerous independent labels (Ripper, Jayrem, Flying Nun, Xpressway, Braille etc) there was From Scratch and the flourishing of avant-garde music, some of which is now being reissued by the Rattle Echo... > Read more

THE RATTLE ECHO IMPRINT (2020): Sounds from our foreign country

8 Jun 2020  |  4 min read

Anyone who goes back to New Zealand's more experimental and innovative music of the Eighties will be astonished by just how distinctive and different it was. Alongside the tapestry of rock, pop, emerging reggae, soul, synth-pop and all the other mainstream genres was some avant-something music which sometimes seemed almost inexplicable and most certainly indefinable. There was a... > Read more

Various Artists: SoundDome (Rattle)

26 Aug 2019  |  1 min read

As with a few of the more challenging albums on the Rattle label, we offer these words just by way of introduction only to this collection of sonic art pieces by five New Zealand composers who work in academia and/or create work for soundtracks. The album comes with a 10 minute DVD interview with John Coulter who has created the SoundDome, “an instrument which has inside it 25... > Read more

Al Fraser: Toitu te Puoro (Rattle)

12 Nov 2018  |  <1 min read

About a third the way through these sometimes weightless, sometime deeply grounded taonga puoro instrumentals – which are spacious and evoke states of mind as much as environments -- I actually said aloud, “Wow, this sounds like classical electronica.” And at that very moment I turned the page in the excellent booklet to where one of the essayists Te Ahukaramu Charles... > Read more

Being-Non-Being

Giannouli/Thorne/Garden: Rewa (Rattle)

25 Jun 2018  |  2 min read

Releases on Auckland's Rattle label seem now to fall into a few distinct categories: There is Essential, Important and last -- but far from least -- is Fascinating (But For A Select). Sometimes, of course, the music resides in a couple of those: Essential and Important being the most common pairing. This album by pianist Tania Giannouli, taonga puoro master Rob Thorne and Rattle headman... > Read more

A Forgotten Land; The Uprooted Tree