Further Outwhere

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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


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

Alan Brown: Composure (alanbrown.co.nz)

12 Feb 2018  |  <1 min read

This very welcome release is another installment from improvised ambient sessions recorded on a Steinway by pianist Brown in the concert chamber of the Auckland Town Hall in August 2014. The first pieces released from that day appeared as Silent Observer in 2015 and at the time Elsewhere had very positive things to say, among them that we'd like to hear more from those hours of... > Read more


Alan Brown: Silent Observer (alanbrown.co.nz)

1 May 2015  |  2 min read

Despite what many amateurs in the New Age world may think -- and Brian Eno's Bloom app allows you to pretend you can do it -- creating respectable ambient music isn't quite as easy as it sounds. We default to Eno again because he has some form in this area and he said this genre was about creating music which should be as ignorable as it was enjoyable. In other words it could be aural... > Read more

Unanswered Question

ROTOR PLUS INTERVIEWED (2014): The slow music movement

10 Feb 2014  |  7 min read

One of the most interesting albums/projects Elsewhere heard last year came from a New Zealand artist who goes under the name Rotor Plus (variously rotor plus, rotor +). With the release of the album Dust, he completed a trilogy of CDs which were as seductive as they were mysterious. The music was understated and sometimes barely there, surface noise and found sounds were part of the... > Read more

Middle: The Drape of the Curtain

ROTOR+ CONSIDERED (2013): A beautiful journey into the black

12 Aug 2013  |  5 min read

For many decades Avis, the international rental car outfit, had slogans which were variations on its position as number two in the market. Among them was “When you're only No 2, you try harder”. To advertise its ethic the company promoted itself with “We try harder” buttons . . . and it worked. People like it when others make an effort on their behalf. ... > Read more

End: A Boundary and An Edge

Dave Lisik and Richard Nunns: Ancient Astronaut Theory (Rattle)

3 Oct 2011  |  1 min read

Recently it was my great privilege to be asked to write some liner notes for this album on the estimable Rattle label. It is a very special album as you may hear. So rather than relitigate those ideas why don't I simply reproduce the notes here and you can make what you will of it? This is what I wrote . . . We live in a world post-everything. Many paintings are post-Modern;... > Read more


BRIAN ENO AND THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Obscure but not oblique

3 Jan 2011  |  2 min read  |  2

By happy chance recently I pulled out a vinyl album which has changed my listening habits for these past weeks. It was released 30 years ago but has always struck me as timeless: it is Brian Eno’s Music For Films and the austere, pale brown cardboard cover is mottled with age. At any opportunity since I have gravitated to my cherished vinyl collection of Cluster, Harold Budd, Laraaji... > Read more

Friend: Inaccuracies and Omissions (Flying Nun)

12 Aug 2003  |  1 min read

"Musique concrete" has generally had a bad rap. The problem lies in the "musique" part of the equation. Being constructed from found sounds or by mixing up sounds into some other form, musique concrete doesn't conform to a definition of "music" as most understand it. Put it this way: you can't whistle it. So it's a courageous, inspired or art... > Read more

Friend: First Easy Piece

From Scratch: Global Hockets (Scratch)

5 Dec 2000  |  1 min read

From their origins on PVC pipes and Jandals, through the incorporation of voices and here with the German electronic group Supreme Particles, From Scratch's explorations of rigorous and mathematically determined rhythm patterns has always been worth following. And the computer-percussion interface here offers them a richness of sound they explore fully within the technically narrow... > Read more

From Scratch: Global Hockets, Part Two (of a 10 part continuous performance)

JOHN COUSINS INTERVIEWED (1989): Taking time to explore time

23 Feb 2000  |  3 min read

We see time contracted so often in our lives -- soap operas telescoping weeks into minutes, sports events distiiled down to highlight packages -- that it is sometimes hard to accept the longer natural rhythms of days and tides. But exploring time, especially in relation to the natural landscape, is the province of Christchurch artist John Cousins, a senior lecturer in music at the... > Read more