“The 20 song album covers traditional Javanese and Balinese gamelan, Asia-Pacific folk music, free jazz, and free noise…. If you have an open inquiring mind and love hearing a variety of sound, this is excellent. – Darryl Baser, muzic.net.nz“
For the first half the year I lived in Okinawa (as an English teacher, on the JET Programme)
安里屋ユンタオーバードライブ Asadoya Yunta Overdrive (Okinawa)
Okinawa is not what most gaijin would expect from Japan – more tropical and laidback, Hawaiian-influenced even. A part of the world with its own unique identity, and amazing marine life. I visited some of the islands, and studied the traditional eisa music played on the sanshin.
and then travelled to mainland Japan,
ネオン列車の風景 (Neon Train Landscapes)
then travelled to mainland Japan, where I caught up with fellow NZ expat musician Nat da Hatt. We spent six days hiking across the Japan alps together,
and collaborated on an album of field recordings – this time adding psychedelic guitars
After leaving Japan, I stopped in Wellington for a flying visit
The Winter: Flying Visit
on my way to Western Australia
I lived in Perth, WA for the next two and a half years – enjoying the warm climate, and cycling and surfing – but it eventually became isolating.
From Western Australia, I travelled to Malaysia and Singapore,
and then to Java, Bali, and Nusa Penida islands in Indonesia.
I learned the basics of gamelan music.
As well as visiting Indonesia, I had joined the gamelan Gamelan Sekar Puri in Perth.
On returning again to Wellington I joined the Gamelan Taniwha Jaya (Balinese)and Gamelan Padhang Moncar (Javanese style) ensembles. This was a chance to immerse in a traditional music form with a history going back over 40 years in NZ and centuries in Indonesia.
I played Balinese and Javanese gamelan
in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway
I started a duo collaboration with Emit Snake-Beings, who had been one of my early influences
- Ngumbang brought things full circle, a synthesis of styles
and the Winter met for the last time (to date)
The Winter: Exit Points
East to West
- I performed as a solo show with a live soundtrack in the NZ Fringe Festival – East to West, a movie of my travels – and took it on tour to Invercargill.
- I also travelled to Fiji
…and I formed a new duo
The Electricka Zoo
a duo with the Digitator… a little more accessible and electronic, funky, danceable than usual for me.
We first met in high school back in New Plymouth and he played on the Marion Flow and dAdApApA sessions back in 1999. We busked and played a bunch of gigs around Wellington, released our first album in 2017, and performed a successful season in the NZ Fringe Festival in 2018.
Other Islands: 2012-2018
The last five (of the 20) tracks were recorded in 2018 – each in a different genre:
* a new Indonesia-inspired electro-acoustic collaboration with Emit Snake-Beings
* a solo acoustic song written by my great-great-grandfather
* a Wairarapa psychedelic country folk jam with Nat da Hatt
* a Wairarapa free noise electric drone with Campbell Kneale, maestro of the genre
* and concluding with a Fijian folk song, inspired by my visits to Fiji in 2016 and 2018
By this time I’d turned 40 and, driven out of Wellington by the absurdity of the NZ housing market, moved to the Wairarapa –
the Electricka Zoo played in Featherston, our last gig (to date)
I also began to experiment with animated visuals:
and, on the other hand discovered an ancestor who had come to the Wairarapa long before me, and who would inspire a next major project…