NZ Music Month: Quarantunes Part One

During lockdown several of our hugely talented librarians have been creating and sharing music via the Johnsonville Library Facebook page to provide a pleasant distraction from the rigours of lockdown. The music is as diverse as you can imagine, covering numerous genres and worlds. So we thought New Zealand Music Month would be the perfect time to revisit just a few of these musical creations and take the opportunity to ask their creators to pick a favourite New Zealand album and tell us why they love that particular piece of music.

Claire: performing The Cuckoo Waltz by Emanuel Jonasson

QUARANTUNES 23 April 2020

Good evening and welcome back to QUARANTUNES! Tonight we've got the wonderful Cuckoo Waltz peformed by not one, not two, but THREE of the wonderful Claire from the Johnsonville Library. Enjoy! Stay home and stay safe!#quarantunes

Posted by Johnsonville Library on Wednesday, 22 April 2020


My favourite NZ album is Love and Disrespect by Elemeno P – it reminds me of O-Weeks at university, where I must have seen them live at least half a dozen times (which might not seem a lot, but I am not a huge concert-goer… shockingly for a librarian – I’m not a huge fan of big crowds of people!). I would certainly class it as the soundtrack of my Vic Uni experience in the early 2000s frequenting house parties and road trips along the way.

Stephen: performing Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (And the moon descends on the temple that was) by Debussy

Welcome back to Quarantunes! We’re back right where we started with Stephen and his lovely piano. Tonight he’ll be performing a piece by Debussy. Stay home and stay safe please!#quarantunes

Posted by Johnsonville Library on Friday, 24 April 2020


My favourite NZ album – difficult to choose. I did recently write essentially an essay on Facebook about how much I love Solace by Jakob, so I guess it’s that. Jakob’s 2007 offering Solace is utterly consuming, from start to finish. It’s very difficult to describe the sound of this album and the emotional resonances it has for me. The dense layering of opener “Malachite” is sitting on the roof of the Wright’s Hill bunker and looking out over the darkening city as the first spots of rain stain the concrete. The crunching, subterranean bass of “Pneumonic” weaves a cocoon of sound so dense it feels as though you’re physically enveloped, untouchable. “Oran Mor” and “Everything All Of The Time” are the sweep of waves and the crash on the shoreline all at once. “Saint” breathes us through the quiet.

Ultimately I think that while Solace, like all of Jakob’s albums, is undeniably beautiful to listen to, it is music that suddenly ‘clicks’ when you have a memory or an experience to pin it to. Everything slots into place, and suddenly the music becomes part of your DNA, and you cannot ever listen to it in the same way again.

Sam: performing his own and Neil Johnstone’s (another of our librarians) music

QUARANTUNES 9 April 2020

Tonight's QUARANTUNES is here and we're happy to introduce you to Sam, one of our librarians from the Johnsonville and Tawa Libraries. He's joined by Neil, another one of our librarians from the Wellington City Libraries, who has prepared a backing drone synthesizer part to accompany Sam's guitar. We hope you enjoy this beautiful soundscape and we'll see you on Saturday with our next installment of QUARANTUNES. Stay home and be safe! #quarantunes

Posted by Johnsonville Library on Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Hollywoodfun Downstairs’ debut album The Mancunian Swing from 2013 remains my personal favourite. The sound is highly distinctive, utilising dissonant noise guitar, deranged vocals and pummeling rhythms, with strangely infectious hooks to create a punk rock maelstrom. Whilst there is an overarching sense of venom across the record, there are also moments of quiet fragility as well as a strong pop sensibility, which helps to give it real dynamic weight.

Songs like “216” and “Fuzzy” have an almost classic ’60s Brit-rock vibe to them, whereas the one-two punch of “This Circus Believes” and “Crackhouse” close the album in a relentlessly intense fashion. Whilst it may sound somewhat tame compared to some of their later work, to me The Mancunian Swing truly shows Hollywoodfun Downstairs at their most creatively nuanced and interesting.

Jamie: performing his own music

QUARANTUNES 19 April 2020

Sunday QUARANTUNES are always a nice time to sit back and enjoy the ambient guitar stylings of Makerspace Specialist Jamie. We hope you had a nice week and that your evening is full of happiness. Be well, stay safe, and stay home! #quarantunes

Posted by Johnsonville Library on Wednesday, 15 April 2020


I have fond memories of this album, lying on the floor of our house in England when I was about 6 or 7, listening to it. It was the first time I had ever heard of New Zealand, now I live here!! The intro/jangly guitar part to “Weather With You” and the progression of “Four Seasons in One Day” are just two of the songs that made me pick up a guitar. It is up there in my top ten of all time!

Discover More:

Wellington Music at WCL: Want to keep up with the latest gigs and releases throughout Wellington? Then look no further than the Wellington Music at WCL Facebook page, run by our very own music specialist Mark!

Wellington Music Past and Present: This site is a tribute to the decades of music that have contributed to Wellington’s sound, as well as a browsable portal to our physical CD collection.

Music eResources: With almost half a million tracks between them, Naxos Music Library and Naxos Jazz Library will have your lockdown listening covered. Discover them via our Digital Library.