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  • 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

    Thundercat @ San Fran, warmed by DJ Thanks & supported by Orchestra of Spheres

    11.02.16 | Permalink | Comment? | By

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    Poster’s Gig, reminiscing Thundercat’s video for ‘Them Changes’

    What a wonderful night we all had on the 3rd of Feb. Wellington gave us its hottest (and dampest!) night ever, allowing us all to rock up San Fran in tees and flip flops.

    Christchurch & Melbourne based DJ Thanks stood comfortably between the bar and the sound man, grooving funk, soul, hip hop, with the right amount of electronics… a perfect warm up for the opening act; the galactic quartet of Orchestra of Spheres. The environment was buzzy and exciting while the beats invited us to settle in for an explosive night.

    As the DJ’s faders went down, people turned off their ciggies, sculled their drinks, and made it to the dance floor without further ado, where the heavy analogue bass and mesmeric beats were matched with the sounds of the most psychedelic home made guitar in town, mixed with washed reverberated vocals of men and women from other lands. The crowd went straight to the dancing given that the tunes coming out were well known to most of us. For those experiencing the otherworldly vibrations for the first time, the thick spider web would have made it impossible to escape the twitching. Some people sat quietly just nodding; those would have been part of the OOS crew in one way or the other; rodies, friends, music colleagues.

    The temperature was rising, and the sweaty arms, backs and armpits started to make their presence be felt. The stage would have been at least 5 degrees on top of that, but nevertheless, the Speheres were owned the performance – fully suited and all.

    After a space of time which felt hard to calculate, that was it. We were served with prime quality weird-astro-synth-rock, and people were almost feeling the flavors of the main dish of the night. Being in the front, I left my friend and told him I’d be back as soon as I was done with a bit of a refresher outside.

    Big mistake! No sooner I found myself surrounded by friends from the NZSM, Jazz School and general gig-goers, a low hum made us all turn our heads in surprise… and there was Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Burner with his 6-string Ibanez bass guitar standing up on stage. A flock followed, with a mix of gentles and desperate excuse me‘s. I sneaked like a mongoose and managed to get the lateral autobahn till I was two-dudes-away from my partner (who was right at the front). I scored one of those sweet spots: a girl behind me, 2 human pillars by my side, and a perfectly short-haired, petite and gentle guy in front; this allowed a director’s shot of those beautiful black hands casting their magic, both on the frets and on the strings.

    The stage was shared with a monumental duo: Justin Brown on the drums, and Dennis Hamm on keyboards. After a couple of songs things got really heated, with solos from all parties, making people in the audience go wild.

    After culminating their set (dehydrating us all!), I witnessed the most energetic encore call yet to be seen in Wellington. With a big and humble smile, they all came back after no more than 20 seconds, and played another 2 or 3 tunes before the final bang.

    This being Wellington, I had the chance to talk to DJ Thanks, say hi to Baba Rossa, and share the admiration for To Pimp a Butterfly (which features Thundercat on bass in several songs) with Dennis Hamm. He told me it’s been nominated for 13 Grammy’. Not too bad!

    Stepping out of the venue, I slowly walked back home via Cuba Street, in ecstasy and contemplation. Thank you Welly for the music that you let us breathe!

    Thundercat performs live at a Laneway sideshow at San Francisco Bathhouse in Wellington

    Gig image used with permission.


  • General

    Gig Review: Local DJs Coda & Heylady supporting ‘A Guy Called Gerald’…

    21.04.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    Gig poster

    It is no wonder that 2 of the most well-established DJs in New Zealand had the honor and right of playing along side legendary Gerald on March the 20th.

    Opening the night was Leon (aka DJ Coda), who rocked the space for an epic 4-hour set, providing a masterful collage of old and new fine Techno. Host of The Floor (one of the hottest and freshest Techno shows in Wellington’s airwaves, running every Thursday from 7pm to 9pm through RadioActive 88.6FM, Coda showed a confidence that only comes with DJing for over 20 years, supporting massive names such as Derek May, Kevin Saunderson, Jeff Mills, Ritchie Hawtin, Alex Paterson, among many others.

    As midnight kicked in, the British master hopped into the decks to own the stage, playing a set that could be described as a chronology of his career; starting with early Acid House, deepening into Jungle and Breaks, following with Drum N Bass, landing back with new clean Techno and Deep House. Like everyone else, I realized how versatile Gerald really is apart from regularly teasing the audience with samples of well known-songs, and making sudden changes into unexpected directions, he made sure every person had a fix of their favorite part of him.

    Although the event read “Doors Open @ 8PM”, the night wasn’t yet over!
    It has to be noted that it takes a lot of guts and skill to hop into the stage after the echoes of a grand master are still resonating in everyone’s ears. It was not a problem for local party-chica Heylady, who got an instant cheering from the crowd as soon as she started setting up her gear. Dancing and smiling as usual, she rocked the house and kept those energies going till around 4AM (quite a thing given that a lot of people were already dancing for hours). Showing a exquisite taste for firs-rate techno, Heylady provided the cherry on top the ice cream, and left us all go home with an bellyful of cool music. A perfect night of satisfaction!


    Gig poster sourced from Bodega Facebook Events/March 19


  • General

    Kinetic & Groovy Arts by the Waterfront

    30.01.15 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    The Performance Arcade

    We are very excited to present yet another sonic happening for this shiny Summer that 2015 has brought to us. The Playground NZ is a New Zealand performing arts company that, apart from presenting international arts spectacles from its initiation in 2004, has given birth to the Performance Arcade (P.A.) project, a temporary installation of shipping containers along the waterfront which hosts all sorts of live experimental, interactive art. This fresh, award-winning production offers the public a chance to indulge in out of the ordinary experiences for all the senses, and has been growing in popularity and caliber since it’s debut in 2011. As read on their website:

    The Arcade currently runs as an annual event on Wellington’s Waterfront each February/March: opening for 4-6 days and operating daily as a ‘13 hour performance space’. In addition to the containers, the Arcade houses a schedule of ‘one-off’ performances, music events , and public discussions on a specially built ‘container stage’. With a bar, stall food, and relaxing ambience, this space plays host to a dynamic series of performance works, concerts, and public discussions.

    Last year’s P.A. included music performances by Glass Vaults, Grayson Gilmour, Justin Firefly, The Troubles, Pecha Kucha, Weka, West Coast Bullies, Black City Lights, The Great Escape, and many more. Click here to check the current lineup of gigs and sonic installations.

    To know more about the P.A. visit their website here.

    For more info about other music events check Wellington Council’s Summer City Programme.


  • General

    Rise of the Banshee!

    16.12.14 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    [Image courtesy of Ian Tilley Photography]

    [Image courtesy of Ian Tilley Photography]

    Armed with fierce new vocalist Jolene Tempest, NZ metal band Bulletbelt are a force to be reckoned with! The Wellington-based five-piece comprises respected members of the local metal community and brings together a unique sound that draws inspiration from black metal, and encompasses elements from traditional metal, thrash and punk. Evolving from 2012’s Down in the Cold of the Grave, these diverse influences are all unleashed in the band’s recently released second full-length album Rise of the Banshee. 2014 has seen Bulletbelt digress from their earlier black metal roots and develop an encompassing sound that pushes boundaries and welcomes a broader audience.

    A relentless NZ/Australian tour included support slots for an impressive range of international acts like Sepultura and has concluded with the Wellington Album Release Show at Valhalla on Sunday with support from local bands Fallen Order and Insidious Wretch. Good guys (and gal!) that Bulletbelt are, entry fee for the gig included Rise of the Banshee CD, a complementary crate bottle of Ale of the Banshee and a Hells Pizza voucher!!!   The band also made headlines recently after their set at the New Plymouth Tattoo Festival coincided with a performance by pop-folk band The Seekers, playing at a near-by concert.  And they’re a commanding live act indeed!  Be sure to check Bulletbelt out when they play Wellington metal fest Strike of the Beast in the new year, and later in April when they support US band Midnight on their No Mercy Down Under tour.

    Rise of the Banshee and Down in the Cold of the Grave are available to borrow from the Wellington City Libraries CD collection or you can support some local metal and purchase copies from Bulletbelt’s bandcamp page.


  • General

    Wellington Hosts the 2014 APRA Silver Scroll Awards

    19.11.14 | Permalink | Comment? | By

    On October 30, at the TSB Arena, APRA’s annual award ceremony – ‘The Silver Scroll Awards’ were held for the first time in Wellington since 2004, with Luke Buda of the Phoenix Foundation chosen as Music Director. The awards have become renowned for the unique musical performances, where bands and musicians are selected to perform one off renditions of the finalists’ songs, often completely flipping them on their head with a complete genre change.

    “It is both a huge honour and tremendously exciting to be asked to be the Music Director for the 2014 APRA Silver Scrolls” said Buda, “The Scrolls are always a great night full of musical surprises and my mind has been working overtime to make sure that mighty legacy will continue!”

    And continue it most definitely did, with Mr. Buda doing a splendid job in selecting an outstanding range of musicians from Wellington’s distinctive, off the grid musical community each of whom gave memorable performances.

    Tami and Joshua Neilson’s winning song, the soulful, retro-flavoured blues ballad ‘Walk (Back to Your Arms)’ was given a world music make-over by Victoria University’s 16-piece Indonesian Gamelan orchestra, Gamelan Padhang Moncar, with The All Seeing Hand’s Jonny Marks adding his astounding Mongolian throat singing vocal skills.

    Terror of the Deep

    Terror of the Deep

    Other nominees songs covered were ‘Bridges’ by Broods‘, which was given a gorgeous makeover by Terror of the Deep, Rhian Sheehan, and a string section; Louis Baker’s Back on my Feet’ reconfigured by The Golden Awesome; The Phoenix Foundation’s Bob Lennon John Dylan’ covered by the West Coast Bullies; and for some, the highlight of the evening from Estere, who covered Tiny Ruins’ lovely ‘Me at the Museum, You in the Wintergardens’.

    Also presented on the night was the APRA Maioha Award, for excellence in song writing featuring te reo Māori.  The award was won by Rob Ruha for ‘Tiki Tapu’, and was presented by Aotearoa hip hop pioneer, Upper Hutt Posse’s Dean Hapeta.  Following the presentation of the award Electric Wire Hustle took the stage to perform their interpretation of the song.

    In addition was the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, which recognises outstanding contemporary composition by New Zealand composers, which was won by Wellington’s Michael Norris for his composition ‘Inner Phases’. Written to be performed by a Chinese instrument ensemble and a string quartet, melding eastern and western composition palettes, this piece was re-interpreted on the night by ex-Happy organiser and jazz saxophonist extraordinaire Jeff Henderson, performing under a pseudonym chosen in Douglas Lilburn’s honor – ‘Lil’ Dougie Boyne’!

    The memory of Wellington classical/electronic music pioneer, Douglas Lilburn, was afloat on the night, as the final part of the evening saw him posthumously inducted into the prestigious New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.

    The Golden Awesome

    The Golden Awesome

    Established in 2007, The New Zealand Music Hall of Fame pays tribute to those that have had a significant impact on New Zealand life and culture through music. Lilburn’s induction makes him the 15th addition and sees him rub shoulders with artists including Jordan Luck, Dave Dobbyn, Shihad and Herbs. The tribute to him highlighted the fact that he is the first classical composer given this honour – a particularly extraordinary achievement

    Composer and author Philip Norman honoured Lilburn with a moving tribute which was followed by performances of three of his works.  Synthesiser maestro Ed Zuccollo performed an excerpt of ‘Overture; Aotearoa’ (1940), pianist Jian Liu played ‘Sea Changes’ (1946) and Wellington’s avant-garde jazz combo, The Labcoats, reinterpreted one of Lilburn’s later electro acoustic works ‘Welcome Stranger’ (1974).

    The night also saw  Ella Yelich-O’Connor (aka Lorde) and her producer Joel Little pick up two awards. Their song ‘Team’ won the Most Performed New Zealand Work in New Zealand, and ‘Royals’ won the Most Performed New Zealand Work Internationally.

    The winners of all awards were: APRA Silver Scroll Award – won by Tami Neilson and Joshua Neilson for ‘Walk (Back to Your Arms)’

    APRA Maioha Award – won by Robert Ruha for his song ‘Tiki Tapu’.

    SOUNZ Contemporary Award – won by Michael Norris for ‘Inner Phases’.

    APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film – won by Victoria Kelly for ‘Field Punishment No 1’.

    APRA Best Original Music in a Series – won by Tom McLeod for ‘Girl vs. Boy’ (Season 2).

    Most Performed New Zealand Work in New Zealand – won by Ella Yelich-O’Connor and Joel Little for ‘Team’.

    Most Performed New Zealand Work Internationally – won by Ella Yelich-O’Connor and Joel Little for ‘Royals’.

    New Zealand Music Hall of Fame inductee – Douglas Lilburn Classical composer Douglas Lilburn was inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame.

    Check out the full night’s performances here