Archives for posts with tag: Able Tasmans

Able tasmans (3)Our song for day 24 of New Zealand Month 2020 is a 30 year old gem from Auckland ensemble Able Tasmans – the opening track of their “Hey Spinner!” album – “Dileen” –

“Dileen” opens their third and best album “Hey Spinner!” Able Tasmans were one of many bands on Flying Nun Records that didn’t really fit the Flying Nun Records stereotype. Too accomplished as musicians, a bit nerdy and uncool, having too much fun on stage. Vocalist Peter Keen was a velvet-voiced crooner, Graeme Humphries a classically trained pianist playing piano and guitar, Leslie Jonkers on organ, Ronald Young on synth, and, by the time of “Hey Spinner” they had added Jane Dodd (recently arrived from The Verlaines in Dunedin) on bass and Craig Mason on drums – one of the best rhythm sections of that era.

Able Tasmans music was full of clever, unconventional folk-rock and borderline prog-rock touches, making them distinctive and hard to pigeonhole. Listening afresh from here in the future, it could be argued they were ahead of their time more than of their time. Or maybe just out of step with the time.

Here’s Able Tasmans performing “Dileen” at the Kings Arms in Auckland on a one-off reformation gig in 2009 supporting their subsequent off-shoot Humphreys & Keen. who self-released one extraordinary album “The Overflow” which was Able Tasmans in all but the name.

NZMM 2020

Humphreys & Keen

Day 16 of NZ Music Month is another lost classic from the recent past. And, given the weather forecast for this week ahead, it’s fittingly Humphreys & Keen with “The End Of The Golden Weather”

Graeme Humphreys & Peter Keen were the songwriting team at the heart of Flying Nun baroque popsters The Able Tasmans.

In 2006 they self-released one of the ‘lost’ classics of NZ music “The Overflow”. ‘The End of the Golden Weather’ is from the album, which also includes Able Tasmans’ members Jane Dodd (bass) and Craig Mason (drums).

Graeme Humphrey’s says of this track: “Nobody has equalled the guitar power of Bob Gilbert (Wire). Nothing new here then. I just wanted to create something powerful but delicate, and hopefully beautiful as well. There is a defeated aspect to this too. A little bow to Claude Debussy again. Pianists and music lovers will know what I mean when I cite Cathedral Angloutie (Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s version is very good!)”

Humphreys & Keen

Graeme Humphreys & Peter Keen were the songwriting team at the heart of Flying Nun baroque popsters The Able Tasmans.

In 2006 they self-released one of the ‘lost’ classics of NZ music “The Overflow”. ‘You Smiled’ is from the album and is the most immediately Ables-like of the tracks.

I recommend you check the whole album out. Graeme & Peter are on fine form and the album is a lush and varied feast.

As my friend Tricia said after flying from California to see them play their only show “I’d listen to Peter Keen’s voice reading the phonebook”. With “The Overflow” there’s no need for a phone book.

Here’s the opening song from the album ‘Bright Shining Star’ performed at their only show, in 2009 in Auckland, with Don McGlashan, Jane Dodd (bass) & Craig Mason (drums).