Happy new year – here’s our first new music release of 2023 – available for download or limited-edition cassette, courtesy of Antony Milton‘s Smalltown Electron label:
The first physical format release from Masterton trio The Troubled Times (and the debut release for Small Town Electron as a label) is a loud and noisy nocturnal romp through the hills and onto the gravel back roads of one of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s least visited regions.
This short warmup improv is based on an Indian scale, inspired by Dr Emit Snake-Beings‘ travels to Kerala in India, and harmonium lessons in Suva.
There’s an Indian influence throughout the album, as several sections are based on drones and modal improv (rather than the chord changes)… though this is not a traditional Indian album, we’ve borrowed ideas to inform our own experiments.
The temple in the photo is Sri Siva Subramaniya in Nadi. It’s built in the Dravidian style from southern India, which is also found in Singapore and Malaysia.
In contrast to other Pacific Island countries, Fiji has a large – almost half – population of Indian descent. Indians came to Fiji in the 19th century, as indentured labourers to work the sugar cane plantations.
Originally recorded in New Plymouth in 1999, it became the title track of my second album.
The 1999 recording had quite a different vibe – spoken word delivery, electric guitars panned left & right, and Paul Winstanley playing a cymbal through a pitch shifter, turning it into a deep sea gong sound.
On other occasions it became a rock riff, based around just an E note and its octave.
The lyrics are some of my favourite. They were scribbled in a notebook sometime in the late 90s. I was digesting the influence of literary modernism (eg lines like ‘yea take in that wake’ a shout out to James Joyce, using nouns as verbs and vice versa, and other general flouting of grammatical rules).
Taranaki and its coastlines inspired much of the atmosphere.