Arc of Ascent: Realms of the Metaphysical

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when Hamilton, New Zealand trio Arc of Ascent announced the release of their new album, Realms of the Metaphysical. It’s been five years since the heavyweight three-piece’s last release, and with the band’s status uncertain for a spell, and a long stretch between live shows, it felt, for a time, like Arc of Ascent might be heading towards the great beyond. Obviously, noteworthy... Read More

Homegrown Ambient Music With Omit and Fuckault

Many years ago, someone handed me a scratched-up CDr with the word ‘Omit’ scrawled on the cover. I had no idea who/what/where Omit was at the time, but there was something undeniably entrancing about the dark minimalist electronics on that disc. Much of that music reminded me of the early, analog years of ambient music –– that kosmische era, which I love. But rather than being the product of some long-lost Berlin band, I eventually discovered... Read More

Northumbria: Markland

Canadian musicians Jim Field and Dorian Williamson formed drone duo Northumbria in 2011, and they’ve since carved out a hypnotic presence, and received a lot of well-deserved praise, with their dark and expressive ambient drones. Field and Williamson use guitars and bass to sculpt spellbinding tracks, and they record Northumbria’s improvised songs entirely live. In lesser hands that could easily result in makeshift music, but Northumbria’s soul-stirring... Read More

Long Distance Runner: No Value

No Value is the debut recording from Auckland five-piece Long Distance Runner, and the 7” and digital release sound nothing like I’d expected — which is no bad thing. My expectations were based on the fact that Long Distance Runner feature members from a few other great Auckland bands, including blistering hardcore/screamo outfit Parents, and psychedelic genre-smashers sere. I thought maybe some kind of acid-fired hardcore hybrid was on the... Read More

Antony Milton: Mrtyu!, Streaming Black, And Off-White

Published in 2012, Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sounds in New Zealand was the first book to concentrate on how a bunch of “Antipodean misfits and malcontents [forged] new ways and new reasons to make noise.” It’s a great book, immensely readable, and there’s a revealing discussion within where two of New Zealand’s more renowned sound explorers, Antony Milton and Campbell Kneale, talk about being frustrated by labels like ‘sound art’... Read More

Hiboux: Command the Earth to Swallow Me Up

New Zealand instrumental band Hiboux make melodic and often poetic post-rock that combines transportive escapism with deep-set catharsis. The Wellington-based group craft dynamic songs, and in some cases transcendent ones too, and their full-length debut, Command the Earth to Swallow Me Up, feels like a vast unfolding odyssey. Command the Earth to Swallow Me Up features six cinematic tracks that journey to the farthest horizons — just as the album’s... Read More

Spiteful Urinator: Absurdities And Death Rites

I don’t think it’s going to shatter anyone’s illusions to point out that the music business is a hackneyed ol’ magic show full of tired misdirection and even more tired tricks. Of course, the majority of bands still seem happy to play along and embrace the gods of hollow hype. But then there are those bands that make their utter contempt of the music biz abundantly clear: New Zealand punk band Spiteful Urinator are one of those rare groups.... Read More

Stalker: Satanic Panic

You know all those things that people say they hate about heavy metal: the ear-splitting noise, the over-the-top bravado, and the fact that everything is exaggerated to the nth degree, all of the time. Well, those are all crucial components in the wild and whirlwind music of New Zealand speed metal trio Stalker. Stalker set their unashamed love of heavy metal’s histrionics front and center on their rip-roaring three-song demo, Satanic Panic, which... Read More

Slomo: Transits

If you’re not familiar with musician, author, and antiquarian Julian Cope, then you’re really missing out. Cope’s eccentric musical pursuits have been many and varied, and his utterly untamed and often unhinged writing on underground music has introduced me to a mountain of fantastic bands over the years. Case in point: UK drone duo Slomo.   Cope once wrote of the band: “If the doom metal of Khanate is the ideal soundtrack to the 21st Century... Read More

The All Seeing Hand: Sand to Glass

Cover Artwork by Daily Secretion Most of the music we listen to is comprised of variations on familiar themes. It’s much rarer to encounter music that’s so utterly different that it’s genuinely innovative. But that’s exactly the kind of novel and unconventional music that New Zealand three-piece The All Seeing Hand create. The Wellington-based trio make incredibly imaginative and often indescribable music, and it’s taken me two months to... Read More

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