Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: An accompanied korero

I'm chairing the LATE at the Museum event next month, under the title The Age of Slacktivism. We've picked a strong lineup -- Nicky Hager, Matthew Hooton, Marianne Elliot, Laura O'Connell Rapira -- and it should be a rousing hour's talk. But allow me to announce what comes after ...

I had been talking with AUT's Richard Pamatatau and he told me about seeing Moana Maniapoto give a striking speech at a seminar in South Auckland; a vivid korero, punctuated with waiata. Having heard Moana's new album, Rima, produced with Paddy Free, I could see how that could be taken a step further.

So I pitched Moana and Paddy on the idea of an accompanied korero, with Moana singing and speaking and Paddy providing electronic accompaniment. (I actually liked the sound of "accompanied whaikorero", but that's a bolder cultural statement than it's my place to make.) And, musical adventurers that they are, they went for it immediately.

What goes down on the night will be based to some extent in Rima, but I don't think it'll be quite like anything either of them have done before. It'll be what they make it.

It's on Monday November 10. You can book here.


This time next week, I'll be in Wellington with (hopefully) not too much of a hangover after attending the Apra Silver Scroll Awards. One of the highlights of the awards promises to be the tribute to this year's Hall of Fame inductee, composer and electronic music pioneer Douglas Lilburn.

This 1970 clip of Lilburn "demonstrating the sounds produced for a modern dance performance that include the electronic reconstitution of the sounds of the extinct huia bird" is wonderful. In this part of his career he was our BBC Radiophonic Workshop, in a way:

Want more? There's Radio New Zealand's prodigious 10-part Lilburn documentary, The Landscape of a New Zealand Composer.

Staying with heritage, the final tranche of Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand online  was launched this week. It's 'Creative and Intellectual Life' and the entry on popular music has been written by -- who else would you even ask? -- Chris Bourke.

And on Audioculture, Andrew Schmidt has Part 1 of a series telling the story of New Zealand music's ultimate post-punk cult hero, Bill Direen. There is plenty in it that has never been told before.


I had some quality listening time last Friday afternoon with Bunnies on Ponies' new album Heat Death of the Universe, so I'm pleased to see that bandleader Samuel Flynn Scott has posted another track from the album, 'Destination Newtown Park Flats' on Soundcloud:

It's about that core human activity, scoring weed, Sam says:

This one makes all sorts of references to the places people could buy pot in Wellington in the 1990s. Like the Black Power head quarters on what was Kensington St. Wellington High Students used to go there at lunchtime and sometimes there would be teachers lurking outside trying to catch you. Of course, half the teachers at WHS actually smoked weed and would let the older kids get away with it with a knowing shrug.

I also reference this ladyShe delivered to recording studios, film sets, large media outlets… if anyone ever wanted to know how far reaching weed use in the capital is you couldn’t ask a better source. She was the ‘safe option’. Bands didn’t mind her popping in. She was unthreatening and reliable. I find her story quite sad really. She was probably the front for some nasty people, but the people who used her services loved her. 

It's always nice to have a backstory, isn't it?

Also moonlighting-from-the-band right now: Street Chant's Emily Littler in her solo guise as Emily Edrosa. 'Corner of the Party' is my favourite song from her eponymous EP, which is at name-your-price on Bandcamp. As this review on Weirdo Wasteland notes, the EP is quite varied and this tale of social alienation kind of has an Evan Dando-ish pop song kicking around inside it.

See also: Charlotte Ryan interviews Emily on Kiwi FM.

And finally, Emily is playing Golden Dawn tonight, with Ed Cake in support and Youmi Zuma DJing out in the yard. That's a pretty sweet evening right there.


The Vinyl Record Collectors Fair is back tomorrow at the Freemans Bay Community Centre, and fans of reggae and rhythm might want to pay especially close attention this time. DJ Stinky Jim sent me this photo of his lot for sale, which he says includes more than 300 reggae 7"s and hundreds of twelves and albums, all at very friendly prices. As if that weren't enough, set up next to him will be his partner in groove, Irene, with an trailerload of just-try-and-get-this-anywhere else Ninjatune wax.

Please try not to arrive before I do.


The Spark Lab Music Month event series in Auckland next month looks amazing for anyone interested in the current state of the music business. Martyn Pepperell has written up the highlights -- which include public discussions with a bunch of interesting people, from Scott McLachlan and Adam Holt to Simon Grigg and Serato founder AJ Bertenshaw. Entry is free to music events, but requires RSVP.



New Zealander Sammy Senior is on production for this wild and noisy slab of ghetto funk. What fun. (For some reason the embedded player's not showing the download button, but it's there if you click through.)

I somehow missed Rousseau when she had her run up the charts at TheAudience last month, but this is pretty cool and dramatic. A good song from yet another self-possessed solo artist, who self-describes as a "muso, writer, feminist, wannabe philosopher".

I freakin' love this edit from Leftside Wobble. There's a download link going on his Facebook page for a couple of days, from tomorrow:

Phil Collins' 'In the Air Tonight' is always a tricky one for discerning music fans. On one hand, it's fucking Phil Collins and ought thus to be destroyed with fire. On the other, it is an undeniably singular record. Nothing in pop before or after has sounded quite like it. It may help that DJ Karim has produced this prowling dub rework of the original. You can download it with no impairment to your credibility, probably.

Aaaand ... this week's Friday funk. Disco Tech doesn't usually make his edits available for download, but this pumping take on Bobby Patterson's 'I Got a Suspicion' is there for the getting this week.


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