It's time for a round-up of new and recent releases. This time I've got an eclectic collection ranging from lounge bar chic to drunken revelry to the hushed tones of a museum exhibition hall.
Julien Dyne is a musician with a strong pedigree. He sits behind the drum kit for both The Opensouls and Tyra and The Tornadoes and he has worked with the who's who of the New Zealand downbeat and soul community. And he's a multi-talented guy - that's one of his artworks above. Dyne has recently released his debut album (he has previously released a 12" E.P. ) titled Pins and Digits. It combines drums, programmed beats and soul inspired brass and guest vocals in an intriguing but laid back style that sounded great on my deck in the sun but would also be just right in a dimly lit lounge bar (Well, I imagine it would, I never go to those kind of places, so how would I know). There's an interview with Julien from NZ Musician Magazine here and a commentary from Julien about the album from National Radio here (stream).
The Benka Borodovsky Bordello Band take accordion, clarinet, flute, violin and electric guitar and create a whirling dervish, a wild good-time combination of klezmer, gypsy music and punk-rock energy. They're sound like they aspire to be an Eastern European version of The Pogues. Their 2008 E.P. included many traditional tunes but it's stand-out track was a very good original, 'The Dance of Death' so it's nice to hear more originals on debut album Polkapocalypse alongside five traditional tunes and two covers, including one of The Dead Kennedy's. The album is out now on Monkey Records. It makes me chuckle to think of all those cool indie kids on Auckland's K Rd, getting down to the accordion. There are a bunch of BBBB videos on the video page, a 2008 live performance from National Radio here (stream), and an interview with singer Ben Cragg on Plains FM here.
The Sonic Museum project is an interesting idea. Nine musical artists were commissioned to write and record pieces of music that were inspired by, and are intended to enhance the experience of, a particular section of Auckland War Memorial Museum. The artists involved include jazz musicians (Nathan Haines), sound artists (Rachel Shearer, Phil Dadson) and musicians more familiar to a mainstream, pop audience like Don McGlashan and Tiki Taane. The music is available to be listened to at the museum, or can be purchased for download from the Sonic Museum site. The pieces differ markedly, although all of the artists, perhaps reflecting the somber, serious tones museums tend to evoke, have opted for evocative, ambient soundscapes. I haven't had the chance to hear the music in the museum environment, but listening at home I was disappointed that all the artists had taken that approach. There's room for a song or two, perhaps telling one of the many stories that the museum exhibitions convey. Still, the idea of collaboration between institutions like museums and galleries and musicians is a good one. It's also great when these type of institutions are used as venues, like the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Auckland Libraries, and I'm sure many others, have been. It's a great opportunity for a wider and different audience to experience live music and be exposed to new genres and artists.
Download the Counting The Beat - New Releases June 09 podcast
Image: The Forage by Julien Dyne, 2007, Oil on Canvas, City Art Rooms