Six Noises EOY ’16: New Zealand Offbeat, Alternative, and Experimental

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This is the final post of my 2016 end-of-year round-up, and it was the hardest post to put together in the end. Mainly because I often feel like I’m not focused enough on the offbeat, alternative, and experimental music from around my neck of the woods. I mean, I did find plenty of odd or eccentric releases to enjoy in 2016, but I also get nervous that I’ve missed something crucial, especially around this time of year.

That’s partly because there are so many strains and strands of alternative and experimental New Zealand music being self-released or released by small independent labels at home and abroad. Obviously, it’s a very good thing that unconventional New Zealand music is thriving. I’m certainly thrilled to see challenging homegrown music being appreciated overseas, like the well-deserved success of local label The End of the Alphabet Records. But I’m also aware I’m kind of advancing in years, and I do find it hard to keep up with what’s happening with the kidz.

That said, I still think my list below offers a pretty good cross-section of alternative New Zealand music (and I use that term very broadly) released over the past year. I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few worthy releases that I’ll kick myself for after this post is published, and I’m certain I dropped a couple of releases from my list that other folks would argue should be recognised at the year’s end. C’est la vie, I guess; that’s the way with every end-of-year list, isn’t it? Below is a list of what I enjoyed most in 2016, and I think some extraordinarily creative music is included.

I hope there’s something on this final end-of-year list that’s fresh to your ears or proves to be captivating. That was the aim with every list I’ve posted here over the past week. Call me an ol’ romantic, I just love the idea of sharing great music around.

In that spirit, before you get to the main meal below, I thought I’d share a tempting taster of New Zealand avant-garde music via a diverse compilation of left-field artists I only stumbled on today. Through the Drift and the Unspoken features a number of noted unorthodox musicians, along with a bunch of New Zealand noise-makers and fringe dwellers that I’ve never heard (always a great mix!). I’ve only listened to Through the Drift and the Unspoken once so far, but there are some fascinating tracks therein.

Okay, that’s definitely the end of my end-of-year ranting and raving. A huge thanks for stopping by Six Noises this year. It’s very much appreciated. Here are my favourite homegrown alternative and experimental releases from 2016.

26. So Laid Back Country China: Sin Cristales

25. Hex: Calling to the Universe

24. Transistor: EP + “Eyes” single

23. The Dance Asthmatics: Lifetime Of Secretion (LP Reissue)

22. Threat.Meet.Protocol: Mindless Consumption

21. T54: Drone Attacks Deluxe

20. Hex Waves: PWF (4-track Demo)

19. Into Orbit: “Dark Matter” & “Gilgamesh”

18. Noel Meek/Wolf Eyes: Mole Rat Ascending/Dual Alice

17. TMPLS: I I

16. Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing / Log Horn Breed: Split

15. Mermaidens: Undergrowth

14. Shayne P Carter: Offsider

13. Earth Tongue: Portable Shrine EP

12. Red Sky Blues: S/T

11. Features: X-Features

10. The All Seeing Hand: Sand To Glass

9. Lamp of the Universe: Hidden Knowledge

8. Our Love Will Destroy The World: Mountainteeth + Ships Hull Phantom

7. The Dead C: Trouble

6. Antony Milton: North

5. Avoid! Avoid: Particle And Wave

4. Roy Montgomery: RMHQ – Headquarters

3. Voronoi: Yucca Flat, Nevada

2. sere: S/T

1. Disjecta Membra: The Infancy Gospels EP