Artists Prepare was an NFU series that featured prominent performance-based artists of the time. In this episode 'sonic artist' Chris Cree Brown discusses composing with new media, and how he orchestrates particular sounds into formal compositional structures. Some sounds are made instrumentally; others are recorded from his environment. In 1980 few classically-trained musicians in New Zealand experimented with synthesised sound, and the gloriously large and sturdy equipment Brown uses to create his music will be of anthropological interest to many musos.
"I always wanted to make videos that turn sound into form". So says musician Nigel Stanford about the video for this track, from 2014 album Solar Echoes. In the Shahir Daud-directed video, science meets art and music meets image, as sound waves create an array of visual patterns in water, fire and sand. The mad professors’ physics class employs the Tesla Coil, Chladni Plate and Ruben’s Tube to vivid effect. It took two days to shoot, eight months to complete, won Best Music Video at the 2015 Vodafone NZ Music Awards, and has been watched over 14 million times on YouTube.
Two tadpole-like creatures with enormous eyes chase each other around, to a driving techno soundtrack. Then these digitally-animated characters find themselves plunged into a different reality - one where a single wrong move could mean they exist in only two dimensions. After completing this mind-warping mini-rollercoaster ride, creator James Cunningham and producing partner Paul Swadel worked together on bank robbery tale Infection, which won invitation to the Cannes Film Festival.
Featuring artwork by Grammy-nominated Kiwi Sarah Larnach — whose art has been a key feature on Ladyhawke's albums — the music video for My Delirium weaves between reality and a dreamscape where cats dominate the Mount Rushmore sculpture, and Ladyhawke soars through space in a car. The video opens with the singer in a dreary roadside motel, before animated artwork on the wall comes to life, featuring a cartoon Ladyhawke walking out of the motel and hitting the road in a classic convertible. The musician won six Tuis at the 2009 NZ Music Awards.
A self described “future shocked soul outfit”, the genre defying Shapeshifter was formed in Christchurch in 1999, by four jazz school students seeking to create live drum and bass using organic instruments rather than sequencers and pre-recorded samples and beats. The acquisition of singer P Digsss in 2003 brought more emphasis to their vocals and their sounds expanded to embrace jazz, funk, rock and electronica. While they have toured and recorded internationally, sold out festival appearances have made them an inescapable part of the NZ summer.
Flight of the Conchords star and onetime Black Seeds musician Bret McKenzie clearly digs Wellington. In this video for solo project The Video Kid, he goes early morning skateboarding through the capital city. The downbeat groove of the folk-electronica number is a perfect match for a glorious 'on a good day' dawn, as the sun rises over Mt Matthews and the crew cruise down Wellington's Alexandra Road and along Mt Victoria's town belt. Later in the golden light they claim a deserted golden mile (Lambton Quay) for the skaters.
The song title is literally animated in this Ned Wenlock-directed promo for a track from Wellington electronica explorer Rhian Sheehan. Sheehan's lounge beats are set to a lunar day-trip plot, where a chilled-out Right Stuff ends in satellite-gazing reverie.
Jakob are an electronica threesome from Napier who first enveloped audiences with their atmospheric soundscapes when opening for Salmonella Dub in 1998. With heavy influence from HDU, the band released its debut album Subsets of Sets in 2002. It was nominated at the b.Net awards; as was second album Cale:Drew in 2003. The instrumental frontrunners have since toured internationally, with the UK's Sunday Times aptly claiming Jakob's psychedelic post-rock would be world famous if they hailed from the genre's Texan epicentre.
The light-hearted but star-heavy I'll Make You Happy unapologetically showcases a group of Auckland prostitutes, united by girl power — and a general distaste for their pimp (Michael Hurst). Jodie Rimmer dons many wigs and personas as Siggy, the spunky young sex worker who fends off Hurst's pleading advances, while pulling a nerdy banker (Ian Hughes) into her plans for a game-changing heist. The eclectic soundtrack is heavy on electronica, while the cast includes Rena Owen, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, dancer Taiaroa Royal, and a one-minute cameo by Lucy Lawless.
The electronica of Breaks Co-op’s 1995 debut Roofers offered few hints to the more organic sounds of their second album The Sound Inside. Its hit single ‘The Otherside’ is a sun-kissed anthem (and a NZ Music Awards Single of the Year) featuring lush acoustic guitar and a soulful vocal from Andy Lovegrove. Director Tim Groenendaal’s video is an idyllic summer road trip by Holden Kingswood through the Far North and down Ninety Mile Beach (with Zane Lowe’s backseat role prefiguring the step back he would take from the band as his UK radio career blossomed).