Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

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John Pilcher & Martin McKelvey – A Bun Dance (Dungeon Taxis)

Posted: 01 Nov 2009 08:19 AM PST


This collection of loose, unformed jams supposedly emanated from a fibro beach shack in deepest Wellington, New Zealand between 1968 and 1972. Tape hiss, TV transmissions of the first lunar landing and the lurching, drunken cadence of hand-wound reel-to-reel tapes are typical of the atmosphere of this release. Woozy textures abruptly truncate only to be replaced by noises akin to a violin recital by a classroom of pissed-off first graders.

I say 'supposedly', as after extensive net trawling to authenticate Messrs Pilcher & McKelvey's historical efforts, I wound up in more dead ends than a modern Australian subdivision. The CD liner notes shed little light on these shadowy grandfather figures of the NZ proto-noise experimental rock axis. One can almost sniff out the modus operandi of Birchville Cat Motel / Black Boned Angel's Campbell Kneale within A Bun Dance's DNA. Maybe I'm just being a bit too sceptical; it wouldn't be the first time.

I even quizzed a friend who's encyclopaedic knowledge of all things NZ is well-recognised and this is what he had to say; "I have found no historic reference to these guys. I do remember someone in NZ at one time promising a CD of archival material from Lower Hutt, which is where Campbell Kneale is based, so I have been a little suspicious. That said, given the number of unknowns from that era that I have discovered in recent years, I think it is entirely plausible"

This release prompts me to wonder about the motivations of labels in releasing such archival material. Granted, I'm not expecting to hear a note-perfect precursor of This Kind of Punishment or Bailterspace jamming with Chris Knox, but to this listener's ears could this possibly be the detritus at the bottom of the barrel from the bottom of the world?

Oliver Laing

John Pilcher & Martin McKelvey – A Bun Dance (Dungeon Taxis) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.