RECOMMENDED RECORD: Dimmer: Live at the Hollywood (digital outlets)

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RECOMMENDED RECORD: Dimmer: Live at the Hollywood (digital outlets)

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this double which comes in a gatefold sleeve and a classy cover.

Check out Elsewhere's other Recommended Record picks . . .

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In 2021 Elsewhere wrote an article about the Dimmer album I Believe You Are a Star which had been released 20 years previous.

We said it was “a surreptitious album in many ways, it deliberately underplays itself so the songs become like textures which slip into the subconscious. The centrepiece instrumental Drift is the perfect example of Carter's clever subversion: it has an almost clinically crisp beat over which are layers of long synth lines and tickling guitar which evolve into a long, quasi-ambient coda with a snaking guitar part which leads you by the hand to the chill-out room.

“This was a complex album which owed much too many styles but emerged as something unique and unlike anything in New Zealand's musical landscape at the time. Or since.

“It was also a courageous departure from the brooding, angry and often explosive guitar-rock persona Carter had established for himself, and by making such a radical departure allowed Carter room to grow in many other directions over the following decades.”

After the demise of Straitjacket Fits in 1994, Shayne Carter – staring at 30 and having spent half his life doing hard graft in post-punk rock – could consider his options.

His musical interests had broadened and I Believe You Are A Star was a courageously innovative album he described as influenced by “the drift and throb of ambient music, krautrock, electronica, outsider pop and the dark funk of Sly Stone, James Brown and Funkadelic”.

“It's all evolution” he sang.

Last year Carter brought together an ensemble for a Covid-delayed 20th anniversary tour of Star, shows received in reverential silence then huge applause.

The Live at the Hollywood double vinyl is drawn from three performances at Auckland's Hollywood cinema where they extended the material, and pieces like the spellbinding What's a Few Tears to the Ocean from There My Dear (2006).

Here's Curtis Mayfield-like soul (Getting What You Give from 2004's You've Got to Hear the Music), wah-wah grooves (the free-floating Drift, the embittered funk-rock of I Believe You Are A Star) and moody electro-psychedelic rock (Drop You Off, Seed, the shimmering Under the Light).

Live at the Hollywood is a classic album reshaped: I Believe You Are A Star and Carter evolving still.

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You can order the double vinyl of I Believe You Are a Star direct here

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Fraser Gardyne - Oct 24, 2023

Thanks Graham for the review and link. Loved the concert at The Hollywood and have ordered my copy. :-)

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