nz music

May is ‘New Zealand Music Month’ – a slightly parochial idea but I’ll take this opportunity to suggest you check out some of my favourite New Zealand music – some new & some old…


While it may not have been created recently the work of Len Lye is contemporary in that it feels as fresh & innovative now as it ever has & if that isn’t something to aspire to then I dont know what is. Len Lye was a self described composer of motion & this CD, released on the Atoll label is a very worthy introduction to the sounds created by his kinetic sculptures. Of course it cannot replace experiencing the real thing at the Govett Brewester Gallery in New Plymouth but it does achieve the worthy task of making us appreciate Len Lyes work with our ears as the primary input. Buy the CD – I also highly recomend the DVD Flip & Two Twisters which provides an excellent overview of the work (scratch film, animation, painting, kinetic/sound art) of this genius local, and/or the biography
Rest in peace Len, your work is a perpetual inspiration!

Next up is the work of leyton who makes excellent digital dub (& remixes) as son.sine & soulful 4 on the floor techno (is that an oxymoron?) as epsilon blue but it is his work as rotor + that I would like to suggest you investigate. Sometimes abstract, ambient and experimental but always connected to core emotions visit RTCNZ to check out some of his music & then go buy the two brilliant CDs (or a couple of MP3s)

Between them Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns have helped save many traditional maori instruments from becoming unplayed museum exhibits & this country is much richer for their work (photos) As an introduction TE HEKENGA-A-RANGI (buy the CD) is an album of haunting beauty, timeless & evocative.

Released by Rattle Records the album was later remixed with varying degrees of success in a follow up CD. But it is an impossible task – no re-contextualisation comes close to truly evoking the respect & immense spirit of the original.

Taonga Puoro – Singing Treasures is also a very good book on the subject & includes a CD.

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