Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Standing At The Edge
Most of my favourite music thrives on the twin impulses of the outsider’s disaffection and the dissident’s agitation. The defining characteristic of New Zealand’s best music has been to amplify these qualities.
I suspect geographical isolation magnifies the outsider status as well as creating an environment where the bands are not just standing at the edge of the world, but are, by making music on their own terms with scant regard to commerce, daring to jump off the edge of the world.
Conventional wisdom has it that NZ music peaked with Flying Nun’s output in the 1980s. Much fantastic music was indeed made during that time, but as usual conventional wisdom is flawed. I rate The Magick Heads’ - led by The Bats' songwriter, Robert Scott - first album, 1994’s Before We Go Under, as the best Flying Nun album. The opening track from this maudlin masterpiece of folk, subtly pop-ish guitars and punch-drunk violins is Standing At The Edge (criminally, the album’s long deleted, so listen to this song as a taster then hunt down the album).
The Magick Heads’ debut single, The Back Of Her Hand, was my favourite single of 1993 (note to pedants and teenagers: yes, I know it came out in 1992, but 15 years ago, before the internet and the cargo plane, the discerning record buyer had to rely on amphibious donkeys ferrying records 12,000 miles across the world). That’s also long deleted, so I’ve uploaded that, too.
Posted by Fire Escape at 1:49 pm