Extravaganza of Progressive Post-Rock

Post-rock is a done-to-death description but as a semaphore of intent it still serves a certain purpose. First coined by music-journo Simon Reynolds as a term to describe progressive music “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords”, its use was rapidly spread during the 90s by breathless writers suddenly overwhelmed by seemingly-infinite possible music-futures. Reynolds further expounded:

perhaps the really provocative area for future development lies… in cyborg rock; not the wholehearted embrace of Techno’s methodology, but some kind of interface between real time, hands-on playing and the use of digital effects and enhancement.

… which in itself has turned out to be suitably ambitious, as in general attempts at an amalgam of real-time instrumentation and digital frippery have turned out to be a big horrible mess (with notable exceptions, of course).

The Dead C are coming to town

I wouldn’t wanna put money on it or anything, but I’m pretty sure that the last time legendary NZ noise-rockers The Dead C (wikipedia) played in Wellington was when they supported Sonic Youth on their Dirty tour in 1993. And to be frank, with an utterly transcendant performance in the face of much tribulation, mopped the floor with them.

Now they’re playing at the City Gallery on Saturday night. It’s free. What the hell else do you need to know?

City Gallery Wellington is proud to present The Dead C. These noise/rock heroes who have most recently played in the UK at Thurston Moore‘s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival will perform in the Gallery. Support from local band Thought Creature. Gallery opens at 7. Music starts 8. Be sure to make it to this unique performance.

Here’s a (reasonably famous) video of The Dead C on now-defunct Friday-nite music show Ground Zero in 1999, playing Sky (off what some claim to be their greatest album, Harsh 70s Reality) and talking about Suicide with the hosts:

A Friday night and a Saturday morning

Down at the City Gallery on Friday night they are running another one of their Late Night Sessions, where you get to cruise around the big exhibition (this time it’s the biennial Prospect show) in relative peace and listen to lovely live music while you do so. And all for free.

City Gallery’s popular late night Friday returns. Wander through Telecom Prospect 2007: New Art New Zealand to a backdrop of independent and electronic sounds by local performers. Featuring Peneloping, Tc Wedde with Luke Buda, and Aspen.

The lovely Luke Buda is of course in The Phoenix Foundation, as is (the equally lovely) Tc Wedde. Aspen is also lovely and also known as Signer, and is one half of Over the Atlantic and one half of Skallander. And the "medium-core girl-boy plinkpop!" Peneloping also have a very good reputation as a live act. Having experienced Late Night Sessions many times before – from the point of view both of a performer and a patron – I can heartily recommend this event.

Hi, and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Hi. I’m new here. Usually I burble sporadically and semi-coherently on Drinks-After-Work; I’m looking forward to the challenge of stepping up to the plate and making sense most of the time.

Posters for this went up last night (sorry for the stink image – I can’t find anything on the web so far):

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is the pioneer of the Kashmiri santoor (Indian hammered dulcimer) and was (heh) instrumental in it’s acceptance into the hallowed pantheon of Indian classical music (read about it). At 69 he is the acknowledged master of santoor; indeed he is virtually synonymous with it. Using a 100-string santoor in chromatic arrangement Sharma creates complex webs of beautiful, ethereal, shimmering sound, mounting improvisation within improvisation within the raga form, climaxing in furious blowouts with fiery tabla virtuosos and frenzied, ecstatic glissando.

He’s real good. His album Sampradaya is one of my favourite Indian classical recordings of all time. And with his debut in 1997 (also on santoor), Sharma’s son and disciple Rahul became the third part of an exceptional pan-generational santoor triumvirate. Both Sharma’s are playing at St Mary of the Angels on Wednesday the 14th of March – presumably on their way to WOMAD – with Yogesh Samsi on the tabla. They will play in an exciting Jugalbhansdi style. Bookings from Ticketek.

Party Like It’s 1971 presents: Motorik

A DJ-event at The Mighty Mighty in Cuba Mall, featuring DJ Kapitan Krautrock and DJ Name playing progressive German music from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s…

This event is part of the Berlin Bonanza at The Mighty Mighty in March.

Jon Auer is coming to town


The guy Matthew Sweet always wished he could be. Possibly. He’s in town for one show only. (Remember Matthew Sweet?)

From the press-release:

Jon Auer is co-founder of one of the most critically-acclaimed power-pop bands, The Posies, and has also spent a good deal of time in the legendary Big Star with the granddaddy of all ’em power-popsters, Alex Chilton. He also finds time to be the self-confessed number one solo sadcore artist in the world.

With his exceptional songwriting, eminently-hummable melodies, and unique musical vision, he takes listeners to sonic and emotional territories far beyond the expected parameters of the pop genre.

John Auer brings his signature guitar-work and angelic voice to MVP for one very special, intimate night.

Saturday the 3rd of March
MVP, Dixon Street
Doors open at 8pm.
$20 presales from Slow Boat records ($15 with an Active Card).

Thanks to Stephen for the heads up (and for making me look like I know a bit about music…)

Putting the Kunst into Country

Ping pong country at Mighty MightyIf you’ve had enough of pretending to be Latin American, The Mighty Mighty now give you an opportunity to pretend to be from a very different part of the world with ten days of The Berlin Bonanza.

Much of this appears to involve a highly traditional Teutonic leisure activity: mass games of ping-pong with a country music accompaniment.

If that doesn’t appeal (and why on earth wouldn’t it?) there’s a bewildering array of other acts and activities on offer. Vodka ice slides! Beer and sausage! Polish/German chansonettes! Krautrock! More photos here and here, excited gossip here, and the urban semiotics of cowboy capitalism here.

The Circuits of Happyness

At Happy tomorrow night you can hear three of New Zealand’s rising stars of minimalist electronic music:

  • Sam Hamilton
  • Angeline Chirnside aka Jane Austen
  • Nigel Wright

These artists are described in the media release as “wonderful and amazing; think the magnificent beauty of Rosy Parlane, Minit, and Rachel Shearer’s Lovely Midget project. Hell, think of the internationally reknowned Fennesz, Tim Hecker or Keith Fullerton Whitman, if you like.”

Musique Non Stop

While you were sleeping poster, 05/08/06(right, that’s the obligatory Kraftwerk reference out of the way)

This weekend’s a busy one for followers of electronic and dance music. Tomorrow night, Module‘s live band (including Rhian Sheehan and Raashi Malik) plays the late set at Cabaret. From there, it’s just a quick jaunt along Courtenay Place to Sandwiches for Rhombus, who will be starting at about … oh, whenever gigs start at Sandwiches these days.

After a late night like that, on Saturday you might be in the mood for something more laid-back, so try out While_you_were_sleeping‘s explorations of ambient and experimental sounds at Room 101 (under Bar Bodega) from 8pm. To get a preview of the sounds on offer, listen to The Session on Radio Active tonight, featuring tracks and interviews from some of the artists involved (inclding Pang, Panoramica and Anaesthesia Associates).

So So Modern, Disasteradio and Chairman Miaow, will be playing an Amnesty International benefit show at Indigo The San Francisco Bathouse from 9:30. And if you’ve any pills energy left, Concord Dawn and Minuit are playing not one but two gigs at Subnine: all-ages from 7pm to 10pm, and grown-ups only from 11pm.


circuit bendingThe next installment in the “bleep” series takes a kind of DIY mad-scientist approach to making music. Bleep #2 is all about “circuit bending“: the art of torturing, transplanting, and grafting electronic sound-making devices so that they make more interesting sounds. Start with some mass-produced techno-toy from the Warehouse, the sort of thing that make irritating electronic noises, and attack it with screwdrivers and soldering irons to coax more interesting (and yes, probably more irritating) noises from its innards. The street finds its own uses for technology, indeed!

It is a two-part event, consisting of an interactive worshop this Sunday afternoon, followed by a gig at Happy next Wednesday. Full details are on the bleep website.