Archives for posts with tag: synthesizers
Strange Harvest - photo by Phoebe MacKenzie & Emily Berryman

Strange Harvest – photo by Phoebe MacKenzie & Emily Berryman

Day 10 of the May Month of Madness Marathon for NZ Music Month is a track from “Pattern Recognition” – the brand new third album from Dunedin duo Strange Harvest.

“Expression #14” is one of the more atmospheric songs on the album. Just synth, delay guitar and voice. And all the better to showcase the words.

Those words are one of the big standouts on “Pattern Recognition”. The lyrics (or sometimes spoken word pictures) are mysterious and evocative short stories about places and feelings that are from some parallel world. The lines “Come quickly/ you mustn’t miss the dawn/ it will never be quite like this again” have stuck in my mind ever since I first heard this song last year. They capture the fleeting impermanence of human experience perfectly.

Most other tracks are propelled along on beats programmed by keyboard player & vocalist Skye Strange. Some of them enter the territory of dance music. Death Disco dance music perhaps, but some of those slinky/ crunching beats are at BPMs that will get limbs twitching.

There’s a graininess about “Pattern Recognition” which gives it a sinister claustrophobic feeling at times. It’s not lo-fi but it’s less glossy than “Inside A Replica City” (2013). It does feel like it was recorded in an “Abandoned Airport” building.

In fact it was recorded in a decaying inner city Victorian era building in Dunedin. I’m sure in some of the quiet passages you can hear plaster from the ceiling falling into the inflatable paddling pool used to collect leaking rainwater in the recording room.

According to this Radio NZ interview “Pattern Recognition” was meant to be about some kind of dystopian future, but they say it turned out all that stuff happened last year anyway.

In case you haven’t noticed already Strange Harvest do the best band interviews ever.

Death & The Maiden_Egg
Many people seeing a Dunedin band called Death & The Maiden react with “oh, like after The Verlaines’ single?”

The name is in fact in reference to the Edvard Munch painting and engraving if it is in reference to anything. “Flowers for the Blind” is their latest offering and it is a darkly hypnotic treat.

They say it’s a ‘single from soon to be released debut album’… an album I’ll be queuing up to buy in any format its offered in.

Shocking & Stunning Trees Speakers
Here’s the selection for day 8 of the PopLib New Zealand Music Month 31 Days of May challenge of buying something each day from Bandcamp.

Sometimes restraint, modesty and being ‘low-key’ is just NOT what you need. Sometimes aural overstimulation by ridiculously bombastic drum and keyboard music is EXACTLY what you need. In that the case the music of Wellington duo The Shocking and The Stunning is perfect and this 4 track EP length download is an ideal introduction to their world.

Their music is a kind of cartoon fusion of John Bonham style drum beats and walls of synthesizers drowned in reverb. Imagine the pompous overblown 1970s synth-prog-rock of the likes Patrick Moraz or Jean Michel Jarre re-mixed by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. Strangely enough this works brilliantly. The massive sound ebbs and flows, builds layer upon dramatic layers then pulls back and changes course.

I remember hearing the opening track here – the perfectly titled ‘Zombie Fucker’ – played live and loud at the Forest stage at Camp a Low Hum in 2012. That was my introduction to The Shocking & The Stunning. Not sure if I was shocked, but I was certainly momentarily stunned. If you like this do check out the earlier releases here too. It’s all great.
Shocking & Stunning CaLH 2012