Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

 |   |  <1 min read

Dudley Benson: Audrey H
Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

The charming and slightly eccentric art music of Benson will be familiar to longtime Elsewhere people: his previous EPs have been posted here -- and now comes the long-anticipated debut album.

The former chorister indulges himself in some oddly appealing Elizabethan language as much as in sometimes gorgeous arrangements for voice, harpsichord, strings, harp and some traditional Maori instruments to make for an album rich in quirky lyrics (titles include Asthma, It's Akaroa's Fault, Lingeress) and suffused in a religious spirit, personal imagery and a lovely childlike spirit.

It can also be read as a song cycle about the South Island of his childhood, and the fears and delights which preoccupied him.

So this is extremely sophisticated but also comes off as unusual and naive, a little like The Famous Five in the spoken word section of the seductive closer.

Dudley Benson is unique in the New Zealand musical landscape -- and here is persuasive evidence that he is also important.

Share It

Your Comments

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman - Nov 25, 2008

Best of 2008 - I give Dudley a rap to go on the list. Jeffrey.

Matt - Dec 18, 2008

In a superb year for New Zealand music, including the Ruby Suns' Sea Lion and Luke Buda's Vesuvius, the debut record from Christchurch ex-chorister Dudley Benson - The Awakening - stood out from the pack as the best local album of the year. Impeccably arranged replete with harpsichord, desolte recorders and sparse beat-boxing in fan favourite 'It's Akaroa's Fault', The Awakening presents a coherent and idiosyncratic artistic vision. Harp-driven 'Psalm for Antigone' recalls the equally oddball Joanna Newsom while the powrful 'Rapaki' evokes the introspection of Bjork's masterpiece Vespertine. Fragile but never frail, Dudley Benson should not pass discerning listeners by.

Mike - Golden Retriever Information - Feb 9, 2011

Interesting article.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lance Canales: The Blessing and the Curse (Music Road/Southbound)

Lance Canales: The Blessing and the Curse (Music Road/Southbound)

In these dreadful days when we see desperate migrants on the nightly news and a US presidential candidate says he'd build a wall along the Mexican border, Lance Canales' raw version of Woody... > Read more

Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

Duke Special: Songs From The Deep Forest (Shock)

Elsewhere works in mysterious ways, it's wonders to perform. About 10 days ago I got an e-mail from guy in Belfast, Jonny McEwen. He'd seen Elsewhere and suggested I check out an Irish... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NGATAHI: KNOW THE LINKS, a documentary series by DEAN HAPETA (Kaha DVD)

NGATAHI: KNOW THE LINKS, a documentary series by DEAN HAPETA (Kaha DVD)

Technology may have made the world smaller, but it has also divided it. Consider this: if you are a Satan-worshipping death-metal band in Sweden (and there are an alarming number) you can now have... > Read more

GUEST COMMENTATOR SIMON GRIGG on New Zealand's patchy history of political songs

GUEST COMMENTATOR SIMON GRIGG on New Zealand's patchy history of political songs

The story of political song in New Zealand is a mixed one. It goes from almost nothing to a flood to a trickle. For much of the history of popular song in New Zealand we simply did not make... > Read more