Arclife: an in-concert compilation of authentic Dunedin music
Since its inception two years ago, Arc Cafe has been lauded as the one performance venue to bring a new focus to the sprawling gamut of Dunedin musicians – in essence, to rediscover the Dunedin sound. Concerts by bands and solo artists of the widest variety are staged at Arc six nights a week.
At the beginning of last year Arc Cafe entered the recording industry with Music Of Dunedin, a very well received compilation recorded over the summer break at Arc; since then the cafe has also released Spitwinterspit by Suka, Testpot by Kitset and assisted with the Mestar debut album. With Arclife, we now receive an insight into the cafe as concert arena.
Culled from hundreds of hours of digital audio footage – the majority of performances over the past year have been recorded – the compilation’s 15 tracks showcase some of the best local musicians to have played at the cafe, and retain that very personal, informal flair which seems to be unique to the performers of Dunedin.
Highlights include tracks by the Renderers, David Kilgour, Cloudboy, Pumice, Suka, Mestar and Kitset; the compilation is stylistically as diverse as the ever-changing pool of Dunedin sound forgers demands, and the line-up varies accordingly – from the intimate to the confrontational, from the reflective to the exultant.
As with last year’s Music Of Dunedin, the overall quality of songwriting is what sustains the selection of songs. Kilgour is an obvious veteran to point out, but lesser known songwriters such as Pointy Little Stick’s Bruce Blucher (also of classic Xpressway bands Trash and Cyclops), Cloudboy’s Demarnia Lloyd (equally known for her singing with Mink and on this album also exploring her recent solo path as Cloud Coup), the Renderers’ Maryrose Crook (also represented solo), the Dark Beaks’ Andrew Jamieson or Slate’s Andrew Dickson (also known for his work with Swarm) have been practising their art for enough years to provide a refreshing blast of originality to those ears tired of streamlined kiwi pop.
In its aim to focus on musical quality instead of hype, Arc Cafe has been bold enough to also include a fair number of tracks by artists with virtually no profile at all. It is this spirit which keeps the musical proceedings at Arc alive and developing; debut performances are witnessed at the venue on a regular basis.
To dispel the illusion that good music must be expensive, the Arclife CD is being sold over the counter at the cafe for just $4.95.
To complement this very direct distribution method, the CD is also available through the internet from the giant distribution site mp3.com (the CD is at http://mp3.com/arclife). The compilation is also available in New Zealand through mail order directly from Arc, easily accessed through the cafe’s website at http://coffee.co.nz.
Arc’s recording setup has recently been augmented to a completely digital 8-Track recording suite of cutting-edge professional standard; subsequent live releases will be more frequent and in even more dazzling sound quality. Expect at least three more studio CDs before the end of the year as well.
Ultrasynthetic – Dinky Beets
Cloudboy – Cup Of Roses
The Dark Beaks – Maribellu
David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – Crazy Mestar – Choo Choo Train
Maryrose Crook – Fall Of The Earth
Cloud Coupe – Honey Baby Sugar
Tess – Mauri
Lou – Same Old
Slate – Iron Bird
Pointy Little Stick – Aha
Suka – Wall Of Limbs
Pumice – Tank In The Hole
Kitset – Dorian
The Renderers – A Dream Of The Sea
135 High St
Ph. +64 +3 474 1135
Fax +64 +3 474 5135 website: http://coffee.co.nz
Arc cafe is a not-for-profit business supporting arts, music and alternative cultures in Dunedin, NZ.