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  • General

    Record Store Day 2017

    20.04.17 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Saturday, April 22 is the tenth Record Store Day, that annual event to “celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store” and its nice to know that the ambassador for this year’s event is US indie songstress, St. Vincent.

    Even though Wellington City Libraries is obviously not an independently owned record store, we like to feel that we support those brave bastions of independent music by purchasing most of the items in our vinyl collection from them….and we love music!

    The first Record Store Day, which grew from an idea in Baltimore USA  in 2007, is recognized as the event that helped spark the spectacular return of the vinyl medium which led to the equally spectacular return of the WCL Vinyl collection!

    The event has proved incredibly successful, with vinyl sales increasing significantly every year. Highlights from the last 10 years have included: 2008’s live appearance of Metallica; 2012’s 400 specially released singles, 12”s, LP’s and picture discs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Stooges, Abba, David Bowie and James Brown; and the Smashing Pumpkins kicking off a tour with a special Record Store Day concert in Hollywood.

    The official ambassador for the fourth event was Ozzy Osbourne and over six-hundred artists, including the Beastie Boys, the Foo Fighters and Duran Duran celebrated the event with in-store appearances, making it the world’s largest music event of its kind. While in 2013, UK electronic tricksters Boards of Canada launched a viral marketing campaign for their much anticipated new album, ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’, by secretly planting a single vinyl advance copy in a New York City record store for purchase.

    All in all a lot of fun, a publicist’s dream come true and a hey-day for vinyl collectors and fetishists worldwide. This year, watch out for events at Wellington’s Slowboat Records, Rough Peel and Death Ray Records.

    And while we are on the subject of vinyl records, music lovers are sure to find something to please them amongst the latest additions to WCL’s ever growing vinyl collection which includes: the new album by the Shins, ‘Heartworms’; ‘Damage and Joy’, the first Jesus and Mary Chain album in almost 20 years; ‘I See You’ by the XX; the excellent electronic album from Wellington’s Cave Circles aka Rikki Gooch, ‘My Heart is a Beating Drum’; David Bowie’s Philly soul classic ‘Young Americans’ and the Doors’ 1967 legendary first album ‘The Doors’.

    So much music, so little time!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My heart is a beating drum. [VINYL]

     


  • General

    Interviews: Ludus

    03.11.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    ludus-cover

    Wellington is a potent creative place and one never knows what may be discovered quite by chance. I was chatting to a young barista in a café the other day who promised to send me a link to her Bandcamp page. Opening the link the next day I discovered a lovely five track ep titled Happier Places by said barista, Emma Bernard, who creates beautiful ambient/downbeat electronica under the moniker of Ludus.

    Emma is one of the current wave of electronic producers who have grown up with electronica and are ensuring the culture of creativity continues to bloom. We invited Emma to take part in an email interview……….

    Hi Emma. Your tracks are lovely without sounding cloy or cheesy- not an easy achievement- and they breathe a quiet confidence. Are you a trained musician and what initially inspired you to create electronic music? 

    Hi John, your kind words really mean a lot, I’m so glad you enjoy Ludus! I’ve played piano throughout my whole life and was classically trained for 11 years. When I stopped lessons I really wanted to try something new, so when i was introduced to synthesisers and beat making it completely changed the way I approached music. It’s like a piano but with endless possibilities!

    Any favourite artists or influences?

    I’m totally obsessed with Nicolas Jaar. His music is so funky and diverse and I’m always fascinated by his creativity and unique sound. I also really love Grimes. She’s so independent and insists the best way to create something the way you want it is to do it all yourself, from directing to producing and everything in between and I really admire that. 

    Has Ludus ever performed live?

    I’ve performed as Ludus at a couple of venues around Wellington such as Caroline and San Fransisco Bath House, and I DJ frequently on a weekly Techno show on RadioActive. Recently I’ve bought some new hardware that I’m currently learning to play live with and can’t wait to share!

    What software/instruments do you use?

    I first started off using Reason, and still use it today. I totally love the built in synths such as Thor, and the visual aspect of the software is a really fun addition to making music. I’ve learned Ableton more recently which is an amazing DAW so I now rewire Reason through Ableton. Best of both worlds! In terms of equipment I got my first synthesiser a couple of years ago which is like my little baby, it’s such a big door opening to learning about creating sound and I use that to incorporate my own sounds into my songs

    How long do you spend on a track on average/ what is your creative process?

    It varies a lot. Quite often I have a few tracks on the go and the more inspired I am for a track the less time it takes because I’ll sit down for hours and keep working at it until it’s finished. Otherwise it sits in messy folders on my laptop until inspiration hits- which can be a while haha 

    Any projects in the pipeline?

    At the moment I’m working on how to play live, but there’s a few co-labs in the making and new songs.

    Do you have any creative dreams and aspirations – rational and realistic or otherwise? 

    Always dreaming! There are so many amazing creatives all around New Zealand that put on unique shows and events, I would love to be a part of them more and more as time goes on. 

    Any words of advice for aspiring bedroom producers?

    Always be hungry to learn! For everything you learn whether it be a new audio effect or an entire new instrument, it serves for a whole new dose of inspiration and a door to learn new things that give you another dose of inspiration, and so on. Also everyone knows something you don’t.

    Thanks Emma .


  • General

    Lovers In Monaco – 21st Century Schizoid Band

    07.10.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

     

    poster

    Lovers In Monaco have been bubbling under the radar for three years now since their first performance at a sold out midwinter celebration at, of all places, Newtown Bowling Club, where they had people dancing on the tables and screaming for encores until the band had run out of songs. Almost exactly one year later the band announced their second gig, at Seatoun’s Sea Star Gallery, a performance that has swiftly entered local folklore via a literally eye-popping performance best read about via the post on Charles Mabbett’s blog.

    They recently  featured at one of the Eyegum Music Collective free Wednesday night gigs at the San Francisco Bathhouse alongside new band Tidal Rave.

     

    Tidal Rave

    Tidal Rave

    Tidal Rave include members of Kittentank and Echo Beach in a stellar lineup that features no less than three women playing loud guitars, driven by a tight rhythm section. The sound mix was good and they presented a selection of original material, sung by different band members, which had all the hallmark melody, chime and squall of excellent indie rock.

    Lovers In Monaco were up next and are a great band for our schizoid post modern times, that seem to be quite serious about not being taken too seriously. I looked up their Under the Radar online profile and it says: “ Prog rap group that spends almost longer setting up than playing. Gear failure while playing live a strong likelihood”. On one hand they are a classic band, featuring the standard bass, drums, guitar and vocals lineup, but on the other they are a contemporary electronic combo with each musician also operating an equivalent digital apparatus amid a thicket of wires and leads, while the vocals are delivered through one of two microphones, one untreated and the other fed through a voice modulator.

    Lovers In Monaco

    Lovers In Monaco

    Half of the songs seem to be about the songs or about the band performing the songs, not in a gangster rap ‘look at how cool I am up here on stage’ way, more in a hipster existentialist kind of ‘isn’t this odd that here we are on a stage making music’ kind of way, a sentiment that is well illustrated by the vocalist’s tendency to leap off stage at regular intervals in order to bash a tambourine or join the happy punters dancing to the trance inducing future disco rhythms.

     

    Can you dance to them? Hell, yeah. Can you stand at the back, stroke your chin and trainspot influences? Yep, and that’s part of the fun.

    Lovers In Monaco

     

    Guitarist Nick Guy also operates the ambient electronic guitar project, ‘High Harbour’, with free downloads available here.

     

     

     


  • General

    Vinyl Collection Release Party

    03.10.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Build a stage.....

    Build a stage…..

     

    ....and the people will come!

    ….and the people will come!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Vinyl is back! When WCL’s original record collection was sold off in the early 2000’s it really looked as if the days of vinyl were over, replaced by those shiny new indestructible (yeah, right!) compact discs. However, to everyone’s surprise, vinyl has made a comeback and, while nowhere near the massive sales figures of the early ‘80’s, interest is substantial enough to warrant relaunching a Vinyl collection as part of the library’s lending service.

    To mark the occasion a Vinyl Collection Release Party was held on Sat September 24 at Central Library featuring a guest panel, djs and prizes to win. The afternoon was a great success with over 70 people attending the panel discussion, hosted by librarian John Heighes, who introduced music journos Grant Smithies and Nick Bollinger, Liz Mathews, drummer for Wellington band Hex, Lisa Brown from Slowboat Records and ‘Taco’ aka Apa, from Death Ray Records. You can listen to the talk on Soundcloud here.
    Over 100 records were borrowed while visitors were entertained by an unusual event….music in the library supplied by librarian djs!

     

    John displays a Kid Congo blue flexi-disc

    John displays a Kid Congo blue flexi-disc

     

    Liz from Hex shows some of her favourite records.

    Liz from Hex shows some of her favourite records.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Vinyl collection itself has wide range and should have items to please most music fans. The repressed originals including Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland and the Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream, feature all the lavish artwork of the originals and are a joy to look at, let alone hear, and several of the original albums, such as Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life In the Bush of Ghosts have had

    Rachelle has her dj debut.

    Rachelle has her dj debut.

    tracks added and expanded into double albums, while recent releases such as Plaid’s The Digging Remedy and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool feature fantastic artwork and production that only the digital era could create. All in all it’s a music lovers treat and even if you don’t own a record player (there is a turntable listening post at the library) you are encouraged to check out the collection.

    Neil ponders the wonders of the mixer.

    Neil ponders the wonders of the mixer.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Like CDs the Vinyl is $1 for a week and please note, if you do not frequent Central Library, that items in the Vinyl collection can be reserved and sent to the branches. At the moment, the Vinyl items come up in an Easyfind search as ‘Music CD’ but if you look more closely under the title you can see that Vinyl is designated in the small print! This small glitch will be remedied soon. So please make the most of this excellent service for music lovers and tell your friends!


  • General

    Jet Jaguar EP Release Party at Caroline

    22.09.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    jet jaguar flyer

     

    It’s a mystery just how Karori based electronic producer Michael Upton, aka Jet Jaguar, has remained such a well-kept Wellington secret for what is now two decades. Since 1996 he has released four albums as Jet Jaguar, two albums as his Montano side project and over a dozen EPs and remix collections featuring remixes of artists including Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Phoenix Foundation and Lontalius. I am pleased to report that several of his albums and compilation appearances can be found in our library collection.

    Michael recently held a release party for his latest EP “July” and to celebrate 20 years of music production, at new Wellington venue, Caroline.

    K-Saba

    K-Saba – Photo courtesy of Lauren Carissa Dalmond

    It turned out to be an evening of dudes with laptops, who are often slagged as boring live performers; however, first act K-Saba dispelled any potential derision, enveloping the attentive audience in a warm cocoon of cool laidback original electronica. K-Saba has created sounds for several theatre productions and is part of the Young Gifted and Broke collective, alongside artists including Estere and @Peace. These musicians are carving a name for themselves as the new generation of instrumental hip-hop, making well produced and engaging sample laden tunes underpinned by slow, seriously funky beats. Check out some of his sounds here.

    Next up was talented local bedroom producer, Skymning, who maintained the standard, playing some genuinely lovely tunes, using his guitar to trigger samples of field recordings and who knows what other sounds, which he treated and mixed into a dreamy textured ethereal gauze. Check out his Bandcamp page for four years’ worth of albums and eps.

    Last up was Jet Jaguar who played a range of his music, some from the new EP, some from his forthcoming album, and some from his self-released EPs, all nicely reworked for a live environment. His productions maintain an unfailingly high standard and if electronic listening music is your thing then you really need go no further. The compositions are highly melodic and curiously abstract at the same time, feature meticulous attention to detail and in their own kooky way they groove.  Hearing his finely tuned electronics through a good quality PA was a real treat – the bass was rumbling, the highs were sparkling and my ears weren’t ringing on the way home. What more could one ask for?

    jet jaguar

    Jet Jaguar – Photo courtesy of Michael Petherick

    Hopefully, a time will come when Mr Upton’s talent enjoys the recognition it so richly deserves, however, in the meantime, I am quite happy to wander down the road on a Thursday night and hear live music of such high standard in an atmosphere that feels like some friendly person’s lounge room.

    Thanks Michael and crew!

    Check out Jet Jaguar’s ‘July’ and his impressive back catalogue here.

    All photos used with permission.


  • General

    Rough Peel Radio

    01.09.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    RPR

    It’s not every day you get to hear about a new radio station, especially one that plays the kinds of music you won’t hear on other stations, but that’s exactly what has occurred a couple of weeks ago on our very own Cuba Street.

    It’s hard to believe in 2016, but, according to a Nielsen report from last year, the majority of American listeners – 61% – still report first hearing new bands through local AM/FM, or internet radio. Interestingly, the report seems to suggest radio music discovery is actually increasing, showing a 10 percent increase over the 51 percent Nielsen reported in an earlier report. So, it does seem that radio is still a well utilised and popular form of media.

    There’s no reason to believe that NZ listeners are any different and Rough Peel Radio, now broadcasting out of Rough Peel Music shop in Wellington’s Cuba Street is successfully filling a hole, broadcasting an array of sounds from the less commercial end of the musical spectrum.

    Peter May hosts the first RPR broadcast

    Peter May hosts the first RPR broadcast

    To quote Peter May, who initiated the project, “Rough Peel Radio is broadcasting online and on an FM signal. We’re playing non-commercial indie music, everything including dubstep, EDM, reggae, funk, hip-hop, 80s post punk to post rock.”

     RPR are the first radio station in Wellington, possibly New Zealand, to be broadcasting from a record shop and if you wander along upper Cuba Street, chances are you will see a devout music lover DJing in the front window of the shop. At the moment members of a roster of around 20 DJs are on the decks at various times and in-store interviews and also performances have been occurring quite frequently.

    Aaradhna album release

    Aaradhna album release


     

    Check it out. They’re live now. Tune in to 107.1FM in Wellington Central or stream worldwide at www.roughpeel.fm. For more information, visit their Facebook page or find them at Rough Peel Music.

    All photos used with permission.


  • General

    Waterfalls Release Party

    26.05.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    waterfalls flyer

    Waterfalls is the solo project of Wellington musician Amber Johnson, who recently organised an excellent release party at the Pyramid Club for her eponymously titled debut EP, available as ‘pay what you like’ via Bandcamp. It was a night of eclectic laptop funk, alt-pop and enticing strangeness that kept a happy audience enthralled and dancing.

    Strange Stains, the ‘leaning on a bench wave DIY shedband’ of solo electronic musician Cooki M. started the evening off. Strange Stains creates ‘euphoric-to-the-pinnacle Electro Pop while lyrically exposing herself at the psychic precipice’. Her vocally

    Cookie M. aka Strange Stains

    Cookie M. aka Strange Stains

    enhanced soundscapes were both intriguing and mesmerising and she is yet another surprising find in the seemingly endlessly creative underbelly of this city. Check her out here.

    Next up was Eyeliner, aka Luke Rowell, aka Disasteradio – ‘MIDI Fantasist, theoretical luxurist and deep-thought enthusiast’. Conceived as a side-project to his main outfit, Disasteradio, Rowell switched to performing Eyeliner live after a knee injury meant he couldn’t dance onstage. In 2015 the most recent release, ‘Buy Now’ enjoyed three weeks at number one on Bandcamp in New Zealand.

    Luke Rowell aka Eyeliner

    Luke Rowell aka Eyeliner

    By the time Waterfalls took the stage everyone was nicely warmed up and ready for her ‘deconstructed modal pop music’. She uses analog synthesisers and processed flute to create compelling backdrops for her songs about love, power and pain – which she delivers with a great voice. Live she is more dancefloor orientated than her EP suggests and from the start she had the whole place rockin’. Like most good creative artists, she is difficult to pigeonhole and her EP is well worth exploring.

    A great night and a reminder of how worthwhile it is to take the time to dig a bit deeper and explore what is going on under the radar in Wellington.

    Amber Johnson aka Waterfalls

    Amber Johnson aka Waterfalls

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    All images used with permission.


  • General

    ‘Orchestra of Spheres’ European Tour

    16.05.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    OoS Europe

    Wellington based Avant Trance rockers Orchestra of Spheres are on a roll at the moment and left Wellington last week for a month long tour of Europe to promote their new record Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon. The album has been released worldwide on both CD and vinyl by London based Fire Records, who seem to be doing a great job of promotion, getting the band featured as the Guardian Weekly’s Band of the Week….

    oos 2

    ….and getting the track Walking Through Walls featured on The Wire’s Adventures In Music and Sound, broadcast and podcast by Londons Resonance FM. For those interested the track can be heard about 16m in.

    It will be interesting to hear back just how the band’s biscuit tin guitar, sexomouse marimba and electric bass carillon, all homemade instruments created from found objects, are received in countries like Turkey, Portugal and Spain and we will endeavour to feature an interview in a few weeks’ time.

    Meanwhile, for anyone with friends in Europe, here are the tour dates…………..

    13 May: Le Temps Machine, Tours, France

    14 May: Festival Le Lac, Brest, France

    16 May: Alte Seilerei, Bamberg, Germany

    17 May: Az Conni, Dresden, Germany

    18 May: Frau Korte, Erfurt, Germany

    19 May: Rössli, Bern, Switzerland

    20 May: May In The Park, Geneva, Switzerland

    21 May: Les Instants Chavirés, Paris, France

    22 May: Jazzkeller, Krefeld, Germany

    25 May: Green Door Store, Brighton, UK

    26 May: Club Makossa, London, UK

    27 May: The Winchester, Bournemouth, UK

    28 May: Raw Power Festival, The Dome, London, UK

    29 May: Chill Out Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

    31 May: Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao, Spain

    01 Jun: Siroco, Madrid, Spain

    02 Jun: Damas, Lisbon, Portugal

    03 Jun: Teatro Municipal Rivoli, Porto, Portugal

    04 Jun: Lata De Zinc, Oviedo, Spain

    05 Jun: Centro Cívico Delicias, Zaragoza, Spain

    07 Jun: Les Pavillons Sauvages, Toulouse, France

    08 Jun: Le Café du Boulevard, Melle, France

    10 Jun: Eindhoven Psych Lab, Eindhoven, Netherlands

    11 Jun: OFF Bar, Basel, Switzerland

    12 Jun: Baz’art, Geneva, Switzerland

    Catch-up with the band & their tour on Facebook here. Buy some of their music on Bandcamp here.

    Cover image

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    All images used with permission.


  • General

    Lontalius releases debut album on NY label…….

    01.04.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    I'll Forget 17

    Wellingtonian muso Eddie Johnston, aka Lontalius, aka Race Banyon, recently held a release party in AK for his debut album “I’ll Forget 17”, released under his indie-pop live band project, Lontalius.

    The album arrives after a steady stream of ‘pay what you like’ eps, singles and covers compilations, all self-released on his Bandcamp page since 2010, when, if my maths are correct, he was just 13 years old!

    He also has a great ep available on Bandcamp under his electronic guise as Race Banyon.

    As Lontalius, he has fine-tuned a lovely lo-fi indie-pop sound which has gained him recognition via media outlets including Stereogum, FADER, Dummy and I-D, and his album, recorded and mixed in Bristol with legendary recording engineer and producer Ali Chant of Toybox Studios (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, M. Ward, KT Tunstall), is released on New York label, Partisan.

    Lontalius will also appear at CMJ this October in the states and will perform at Red Bull Music Academy in Paris in November.

    FROM THE ARCHIVES:
    15072015144519.CROP70-0001

    [Transcript]

    LONTALIUS
    Lontalius is a genus of butterfly in the family Lycaenidae – see Wikipedia.
    Lontalius is also a genus of musician in the family Verytalented – don’t see Wikipedia. Otherwise known as Eddie Johnston (and Race Banyon), the 17 year old Wellingtonian initially released music as ‘Shipwreck’, until deciding he needed a new name: “…so I clicked ‘Random Article’ on Wikipedia. I think it’s a really lovely word.” Choosing his artist name in a curious sort of a way, his interest in music and performing is also worthy of a mention: “l used to lip sync to boy band CDs in my bedroom.” He was able to put down the hairbrush when his parents bought him a guitar at the age of eight, after which he had lessons for a few years before starting to write his own songs. These days there’s not a trace of his boy band predilection. In fact, this young Casio-playing singer-songwriter is the complete antithesis. His introspective tunes have a strong lo-fi aesthetic (‘yr heart is beating’), while maintaining an endearing simplicity (‘ride wiiiiith me’). His spectral vocals heighten the prevailing melancholic mood of most tracks (The World Will Never Know About Us EP), creating an anachronistic musical mix. Inspired by listening to sad songs on repeat in his bedroom at 3am, Lontalius describes his sound in much more simplistic terms: “I’m trying to combine my favourite parts of R & B and electronic music with my favourite parts of, like, Wilco songs.” Beginning with a short loop on his Casio MT-45 or guitar, Lontalius then records with Ableton Live and builds a song around these humble beginnings. Never straying far stylistically, Lontalius also does covers, probably some of the best covers you’ll ever hear. Emulating Beyonce for ‘XO’, there’s also ‘Trophies’ by Drake and his most recent gem, ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. Put aside all preconceptions, misconceptions, all your ‘ceptions, because although this commingling shouldn’t work, it really does. I’m not discounting alchemy of some sort, for these tracks transubstantiate completely and the end product is a wonder to behold. Oh and speaking of wonders, Ryan Hemsworth featured Lontalius’s ‘yr heart is beating’ on his first mix of 2014, aptly named ‘Ryan Hemsworth’s Cool DJ Mix’. Proof of the aforementioned Verytalented, the mixtape has led to Lontalius actually working on some songs with Hemsworth. “It’s given me a huge confidence boost. He’s one of my favourite producers and it’s a dream to be working with him.” Dreamy alright.

    Lontalius profile from Rip It Up, No. 362, June 2014. Used with permission.


  • General

    Wellington Music Electronics Library

    19.02.16 | Permalink | 1 Comment | By

    Following the wild trail blazed by fuzzmaster Pat Kraus and the original Musical Electronics Library in Auckland, the Wellington chapter of the Musical Electronics Library got underway with a launch on the 14th February at the Pyramid Club.

    The Wellington MEL is a lending library of largely handmade musical electronic devices made by a community of musicians and makers. The devices are housed in recycled VHS cases which look pretty cool (see photo below). Library members can borrow these electronic devices, and any other equipment  accumulated by the library,  to experiment with at home in the bathroom, in the practice room, live on stage, in the park, at mum’s place, at work, on the bus, down the pub, in the koru lounge & elsewhere!

    Auckland MEL creations

    Auckland MEL creations

    Auckland based musician and electronics whizz, Pat Kraus, instigated the first Musical Electronics Library in Auckland in 2014 – the first of its kind and a world leader in the Scavengetronica movement.

    The Wellington MEL catalogue will be up and running soon, but for now check out the Auckland MEL’s lending catalogue for an idea of the kinds of things on offer:

    Wellington branch co-ordinator Nell Thomas explained to us: ” Donations of electronic parts, equipment and skills are always welcome! In the style of the Auckland MEL, we are not limiting ourselves to homemade devices only – we’re also gathering musical electronics (effects pedals, small synths, etc) in good condition that need a new home. If you’d like to donate to Wellington MEL or join the team of makers feel free to get in touch with me at – thomanell@gmail.com.”

    The Wellington MEL catalogue is up and running here. You can also join their Wellington MEL Facebook Group.

    Any library nerds reading this may also be interested in the fact that MEL uses a real catalogue based lending system just like any other library. Myturn has developed a Library Management System for community based libraries intending to loan ‘Tools, Equipment & More’…..


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