Pioneers of early Kiwi electronica, The Body Electric was formed from the remnants of the punk band The Steroids. The Wellingtonians became one of the first electro-dance acts to succeed on alternative radio, with their debut single 'Pulsing' spending four months in the Top 50. It laid the foundations for an explosion of the New Zealand mid-1980s club scene but the group didn't hang around to see the era through - disbanding after the release of their debut album Presentation and Reality.
Shot in the same year he became producer of Radio With Pictures, Brent Hansen created this gem before going on to become Editor-in-Chief and President of Creative for MTV International. Like a cross between a Kraftwerk gig and an early episode of Dr Who, Pulsing features what must have been particularly exciting special effects, but sadly arrives curiously free of content warnings. The sight of ex-Play School host Tim Bartlett being aurally tortured has lined psychiatrists' pockets for decades.
This 2001 Mercury Lane episode is based around pieces on author Maurice Shadbolt, and OMC producer Alan Jansson. With Shadbolt ailing from Alzheimer’s, Michelle Bracey surveys his life as an “unauthorised author” (Shadbolt would die in 2004). Next Colin Hogg reveals Jansson as the “invisible pop star” behind OMC hit ‘How Bizarre’ and more. The show is bookended by readings from Kiwi poets: Hone Tuwhare riffs on Miles Davis, Fleur Adcock reads the saucy Bed and Breakfast, and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell mourns a brother who fought for the Māori Battalion.
Harking back to early New Zealand electronica (e.g. Body Electric) The L.E.D.s programme is to synthesise music made by man and machine. Evolving from the group Thomas:Parkes, the synth-popsters made their grand entrance in 2007 with the samples, blips, beats and beeps fuelled debut "... We Are The L.E.D.s", via a home pressing in Christchurch. The critically acclaimed release was followed in 2008 with Still, described by the band as "harder, faster, better, stronger and simply more - more synth, more bass, more drums".
Taking its title from a quote from Def Jam's Rick Rubin, NZ's first homegrown house record was a one-off studio project made by four graduates of the punk and post-punk scenes of the late 70s and early 80s — Simon Grigg (Suburban Reptiles manager and Propeller Records boss), Alan Jansson (Steroids and Body Electric), James Pinker (The Features) and Dave Bulog (Car Crash Set). It was released in NZ as a white label 12" 45 and made a brief appearance in the UK club charts. Grigg and Jansson went on to work together on OMC's international hit 'How Bizarre'.