Monday, 22 June 2015

No. 24 Bailter Space - Splat

Mention New Zealand and most people think of egg-chasing, hobbits and butter that doesn't have the seal of approval of any punk icons (as far as I'm aware). What far too few folk will wax lyrical about is the fabulous music that New Zealand has produced over the last three decades. In my attempt to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case, I present Exhibit A, Splat, a slice of gorgeous guitar-driven loveliness from Bailter Space, dating from 1997. The band was already a decade old when this was released, and in turn emerged from the legendary Gordons. Bailter Space have produced a string of great noisy guitar albums, often associated with the equally legendary Flying Nun Records, which has released material by pretty much every significant New Zealand band at one time or another.

If you're interested in hearing more like this, you could do far worse than starting with the excellent Tally Ho!: Flying Nun's Greatest Bits compilation from 2011.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

No. 23 Jessica Bailiff and Alan Sparhawk

And I'm back. May is always a bit hellish work-wise, so time has been in short supply. Yes I know there's a week's holiday in there somewhere but we were camping in moderately wild Devon, in the land beyond Wi-Fi and 3G.

Firstly, there will be those that challenge whether this is in the correct place alphabetically (hello, Mark). By my reckoning it goes under B for Bailiff, rather than S for Sparhawk, V for various artists or (definitely not) J for Jessica. There are those misguided folk who might be tempted to file it under L for Low, but that would clearly be deeply wrong.

Having said that, the reason this is in the collection is because of the Low connection. Sparhawk is one third of Low and has been something of a champion of Bailiff's slow-core influenced music. It was he who first alerted Kranky, Bailiff's regular label, of her earliest demos.

I know relatively little of this single, released on Ypsilanti Records in 2001. Crush, Version 2 is a reworking of a track from her second album, 1999's Hour Of The Trace, whilst the B-side, Highwire, is a Marc Bolan composition. Sound-wise this is fairly typical of her shoe-gaze-y, slow-core sound; slightly buried vocals, drone synths and a glacial pace. It's not surprising that she's collaborated with the likes of His Name Is Alive and Flying Saucer Attack - they're working with a similar sonic palette. 

I can't find a copy of the single version anywhere, but here's the original; a lovely thing it is too!