Arclife Reviews (1998-2002)

Reviews of releases #001 to #016 from Arclife website 2002 (PDF)

#021 hiss explosion 66 (2002)
…together their sound is a compelling merger of layered, delicate melodies and sparse arrangements, bedding down with gordons-like textures of noise and music.

brent cardy real groove dec 02

#019 bible black bible black (2002)
the spirit of black nights and dark emotions is alive and well, as his sombre, intense voice and mournful guitars wrap themselves around his trailer-life lyrics.
brent cardy real groove nov 02
port chalmers husband and wife team brian and maryrose crook’s band the renderers have gathered a cult following worldwide with their lo-fi, off-kilter country music, so there’ll no doubt be plenty of interest in this solo album by brian crook under the name bible black. a collection of mostly 4-track recordings, this is, as you’d expect, a stripped back and intimate affair, often consisting of little more than a vocal and a single electric guitar track. there’s a couple of contributions by maryrose and one song sung by steven cogle, but for the most part this is brian’s solo sketchbook, and he’s certainly captured some cool songs on tape. if anything this record sounds more desolate and darker still than the renderers themselves – it’s a strange and sometimes sinister listen but a rewarding one nonetheless.
smokecds.com

 

#016 david kilgour a feather in the engine (2002)

new zealander david kilgour is one of the founding members of the clean, perhaps the preeminent kiwi son‐of‐velvets outfit. on their latest album, last summer’s getaway, the trio scraped away at their usual velvets scrabble, which has won them a devoted following all over the heavily factionalized indie landscape. this new solo album by the guitarist is a similarly ethereal affair, with lots of loping oceanic chords and much bliss to be had. and i mean bliss in the form of that psychedelic velvets/yo la tengo vibe. tengos ira and georgia played on getaway, and it sure sounds like kaplan doing the guitar twirly‐birds on the velvets‐like “all the rest” here, though the liner notes are indecipherable. you cant really tell if its ira playing the high‐flying guitar or it just sounds like him. then again, kilgour and crew influenced yo la tengo originally, just like they influenced all those following in the vus epistemological stream. this kind of music has become a syndrome. a new album of this shimmering stutter‐ strum has the same resonance now as a new album by bb king had by, say, 1969. everyone knows what its gonna sound like, so its no surprise in “the perfect watch” when kilgour wrangles some twisted acoustical flights worthy of nick drake and trills like ray davies. the next track, “instra 2,” is a worthless instrumental, but he’s back on track with the melodramatic “i lost my train” ‐ “melodramatic” in an almost pete perrett‐of‐the‐only‐ ones way. the strokes could really learn a thing or two from this cat, but they’re too busy styling their hair. that’s really what indie rock is anyway, isn’t it? bad hair rock?

the point of this kind of homespun stuff is that indie legends like kilgour, virtually unknown anywhere else in the music world, don’t kowtow to the dictates of the starmaking machinery. your cousin jeffrey could’ve made this album and mailed it to you for christmas for all it matters, but your cousin jeffrey’s wouldn’t have been as good as this one, because kilgour, despite his self‐imposed obscurity, is a true pro and long‐term talent.
just listen to “today is gonna be mine” from the jad fair‐like self‐ affirmation of the title to the pavement‐esque churn, this is more than indie‐rock heaven ‐ its real rock heaven, but the only place youre ever gonna get it anymore is through indie rock. this song is ethereal in a late‐ 60s kinks way, with a lot of interwoven vocal harmonies and “ba da ba”s that would’ve sounded right at home on nuggets ii. you could say kilgour is one of the true keepers of the faith.

strings adorn “instra 2 reprise,” which, with typical indie cheekiness, is not an “instra” at all but a tune of, once again, mid‐60s proportions. the violins dance around like the ones on “eleanor rigby” and “i am the walrus,” and there are plinking sitar textures while kilgour sings “the snow is cocaine falling/knocks me right out.” its a not‐bad track, but like the aforementioned beatles songs its about two minutes too long. and “wooden shed” is gordon lightfoots “if you could read my mind” as if rendered by yo la tengo.

kilgour may not give a fuck about fashion, but hes made a damn fine album nevertheless.
new york times, volume 15, issue 3

this is the 4th solo album by this new zealand purveyor of music and some kind of magic. this is just extraordinary; taking everything he’s done before and expanding in 13 different directions over the course of this delicious baker’s dozen. starting somewhere near the primal holy riffage of velvet u, and casting these long smokey shadows in the mesmerizing swirling dust. but it’s more than echoing eternities of momentary bliss clustered around electric guitar strums and spirals; it’s wide open byrds‐ sweet jangle, and effortless effervescent folkish emotional communication. lyrics like drunk circles of rhythm, or simply ruminations of thoughts played out loud. there are sparkling tender melodic tracks like the perfect watch, and many others that defy easy definition like the shimmering instrumental instra 2, that sounds like an outtake from the makoto kawabata/richard youngs album on vhf, the gorgeous instra 2 reprise with its swaying orchestral arrangements by graeme downes, or the nick drake‐like which one. today is gonna be mine (which kilgour wrote with nick roughan and tane tokona) is a maddeningly catchy optimistic dream song. while overall the feeling is warmly euphoric and resonantly spacious.

dream magazine

feather in the engine is something quite special, an album that will be a long‐stayer, just as his terrific debut here comes the cars was.
nz herald

#015 the clean slush fund (2001)

“masterfully re‐worked by dunedin sound engineer stephen stedman, who also lent his design talents to the cover, then released by dunedin label arclife, slush fund was designed to be taken on tour and sold at gigs. opener rollo sounds like a funky sound check, as if the band was making sure everything was hunky dory in the marmalade studio. the inclusion of latter day clean classics caveman, wipe me i’m lucky, fish, and signature tune point that thing somewhere else, lend themselves to the slush fund ideal. the version of fish, recorded at sammys on october 13, 2000, is the best i have ever heard. it’s like you are in the room. there is no doubt slush fund will become a collector’s item. 5 stars.”

otago daily times, 13/10/2001

“two clean releases in a single year? suh‐weet. technically, slush fund might predate the newly‐released getaway; its contents were culled from the band’s performance at last year’s dunedin sound festival, as well as a 1999 live studio session. as a companion piece to getaway, slush fund is quite effective, showing the band at their low‐key, rollicking best. while the improvised title track is a relative throwaway, the rest of the disc offers a healthy mix of the clean’s trademark jangle and throb, with comparatively minimal emphasis on vocals. kiwi pop fans will particularly appreciate the disc‐closing version of quickstep, which features the chills’ martin phillipps on omnichord (okay, admittedly he doesn’t sing or anything, so it really could be anyone playing the damn omnichord ‐ but it’s not just anyone, it’s martin phillipps, which is damn cool). the verdict: while not essential to your clean collection, slush fund, which is limited to 500 copies, is not only money well spent ‐ it’s a good investment.”
splendidezine.com, 22/10/2001

#014 valve e minor (2001)

“valve have been playing together for over a year, but two members have been playing together since they were kids. the brother and sister team of paul and kiri winders share the songwriting duties on this strong debut album while the pounding beats are provided by jeff harford, who played with kiri winders in my deviant daughter. e minor was recorded at radio new zealand’s studio in albany street, dunedin, a location boasting an acoustically panelled room that contributed to the great sound of this album. every track on e minor has vast canyons of space. songs germinate from minute specs of creativity to sprawling epics. valve don’t write comfortable pop, but its music is addictive. i found it great to do the dishes to on more than one occasion. kiri’s voice should be preserved as one of the wonders of the world. recorded through valve pre‐amps to give it added warmth, it simply sparkles. paul also sings a couple, his voice lending itself to the more poppier style he writes. and drummer jeff harford shows he also has a fine voice when he chimes in on the last track, surrender. the album is a fine debut with some well‐crafted ideas but there is still something missing, though i’m not sure what. still, if it had everything it would have been a 5‐star effort. not quite beyond reasonable doubt. 4 stars.”

otago daily times

#013 suka dancing to tibet (2001)

“while dunedin, new zealand‐based suka seemed new to me when i came across their stellar dancing to tibet on arclife’s recent arcbeats compilation, it actually wasn’t my first brush with the band; i reviewed their spitwinterspit ep more than two years ago. spitwinterspit also appears here, though it’s a new mix ‐‐ driving and energetic, despite its dense accumulation of throbbing riffs and slurred vocals. ebony oriental, meanwhile, takes the bardo pond route, sprawling through a mid‐tempo, faintly middle eastern sludge of effects‐laden riffs and reverse‐gated rhythm lines. moodier listeners will enjoy the three year‐old kipiel, which combines plaintive piano and strings with room‐shaking bass resonance. and if you don’t love the title track, with its combination of harmonica, pounding bass line and backing vocal “ahhh‐ooooh”s, there’s something wrong with you. “

splendidezine.com, 1/10/01

#012 laughin’ gas the red sessions (2001) “cool, classy and very accessible”

real groove

“optimistic, rhythmic, really pretty gorgeous, 4&1/2 stars”

rip it up

“mmm … dublicious! the red sessions is the alias of dunedin musician baden french and this album is the follow up to the red sessions’ debut, 1996’s ‘no 2 are the same’. french is not alone however. a chap called red pedro comes to the party on several tracks throughout, adding some guitars, keyboards and percussion, giving another texture to french’s programming. female vocals also feature on a pick‐a‐track‐sing‐over‐it‐ what‐you‐will basis. demarnia lloyd, trinity k and sola monday all lend their lyrics and lungs to great effect, especially sola monday whose track angels swing has a particually cool vocal delivery. although quite dub, this recording isn’t afraid to cross over into neighbouring electronic territory like trance and drum’n’bass, the variation making the listen all the more interesting. what ‘laughin’ gas’ does is avoid dub cliches and seems to do exactly what it wants. an air of unpretention hangs over the whole thing which is really refreshing. this is an album well worth checking out. you can flush out more info at http://www.laughingas.co.nz

nz musician june/july 2001

“there’s multiple‐layer listening on the red session and an understated sense of the pacific throughout. one to be enjoyed slowly. art with heart. 4 stars.”
nz herald 11/8/2001

#011 arc arcbeats compilation cd & cookbook (2001)

“it’s hard to imagine dunedin without the arc cafe. a charitable trust that encompasses music, food and performance, arc’s contribution to the culture of dunedin over the four years of its existence has been immense. celebrating the relationship between cafe and the music scene the cafe’s label arclife has released this tasty compilation of dunedin music and combined it with a batch of favourite recipes from the kitchen. as with the recipes, the musical line‐up is diverse, ranging from the patented dunedin guitar jangle through to electronic explorations. the unifying thread is that all present have graced the cafe’s stage at some time and contributions include some unreleased gems from messrs phillipps and kilgour, a new song from the clean, brooding electronica from cloudboy and magnolia as well as the poppier sounds of mink and sola monday. there’s also some heavier guitar sounds courtesy of kitset, valve, carriage h and mestar. despite the variety, or perhaps because of it, ‘arcbeats’ serves as a consistently good sample of dunedin music as well as a tribute to the sterling efforts of the arc cafe in feeding both the body and soul of the city’s residents. and with this classy package you too can have that arc cafe experience in your very own home. see http://www.coffee.co.nz for more info.”

nz musician, august/september 2001

“if you’re a fan of the clean and the chills, calm down. yes, arcbeats includes songs from the clean, david kilgour, and the chills’ martin phillipps, as well as other fine examples of stripped‐down, echoey kiwi pop. more importantly, however, the disc includes a lot of music that doesn’t sound like the clean, the chills, or any of the other acts in the lovely but narrow sonic spectrum we’ve come to expect from new zealanders, which makes arcbeats a far more thorough survey of the dunedin scene than you may have heard in the past. (of course, it stood to reason that there was more going on in new zealand than a single flavor of rock, but none of it had reached us ’til now.) …trust me, the disc is worth the modest effort required to track it down; it’s not only a wonderfully diverse collection, but a subtle booster for new zealand tourism. if you can listen to it and not want to visit the arc cafe, you’re made of sterner stuff than i am.”

splendidezine.com,13 aug 2001

“surely the finest regional compilation in many moons, though we’d expect no less from the folks at dunedin’s arclife. arc beats is a wonderfully muddled mix of quirky pop panache and overdriven soundscape rock [this, perhaps, is new zealand’s claim to folk music]. it’s a star‐studded rollcall of dunedin’s finest: martin phillipps, the clean, jay clarkson, as well as relative newcomers like cloudboy and kitset. fangirl faves are sola monday’s spooky bubblegum‐pop ‘cool candy’, mink’s ‘your bad example’ and, but of course, carriage h in full attack mode on ‘coming up for air’. echo‐a‐go‐go‐wannabe‐dale‐cotton production values and all. if that wasn’t reason enough to get your filthy mitts on a copy of this wee gem, the booklet forgoes the usual band‐profile fluff in favour of a recipe book of arc cafe classics. fangirl particularly recommends the carriage h vegan choc chip cookies. bake up a batch, crank up the cd and lounge away a sunday afternoon in double‐barrelled sensory bliss. ” http://www.fangirl.f2s.com

“another fantastic compilation of dunedin sounds from the arc stable. “

nz music industry commission

#010 cloudboy down at the end of the garden (2001)

“a big sonic soup of an album using standard rock instruments and almost anything else you could imagine, with the jewel of the piece being demarnia lloyd’s breathy voice which also peppered releases by mink, cloudboy’s predecessor. if nz can be viewed as the garden of the album’s title then this album portrays cloudboy as the dark, overgrown corner at the dunedin end of it, the sun streaming through in songs like red rubicon and pretty. lloyd, with her many collaborators, has brought to fruition an extremely unique vision using western and eastern sounds with traditional and computer‐reliant treatments, but the strength of any work, particularly the unusual, must hinge on strong elements that are in some way recognisable to an audience. this album succeeds with an artful but very poppy approach as its backbone, sweetly satisfying those needs for the familiar in an otherwise unfamiliar landscape. take a chance and float on their cloud for a while. available on arc/global routes.”

nz musician june/july 2001

“cloudboy are another outfit of arty dunedin origins, but there’s not a tortured guitar within earshot on their delightful latest offering. a collection of deadpan and downbeat electronic pop enriched with many an organic instrument, down at the end of the garden suggests the result of the city’s lo‐fi creativity blooming in a digital setting. it’s an album of foggy atmospheres infused with beguiling melodies care of the breathy vocals of frontwoman demarnia lloyd. her singing and the semi‐electronic arrangements can prompt a bjork echo or two (especially on feudal and ahoy), but lloyd and co don’t pale in the comparison. mostly, it’s sad, sweet pop gone weird and dreamy, right from the tabla and violins opener of teaboy, through the lava‐lamp latin of red rubicon, and on past the dubby throb of cup of roses and the cool sweet‐nothings of (you’re so) pretty. it’s imaginative pop of just‐so poise with a hint of darkness which maintains its grip throughout its 15 tracks. and while mildly unconventional, at least for this country, down at the end of the garden actually manages to give quirky a good name. it’s a heady album that deserves to drag cloudboy out of southern obscurity. “

nz herald, 14/4/2001

“thank the gods for intelligence, style and skill in pop music writing. all hail cloudboy.”
loop.co.nz, april 2001

“fantasy vistas and bizarre shifting fields of nothingness open before the listener of cloudboy’s ornately crafted debut album. nothing comparable to this musically has appeared from our enchanted isles. it’s an album more in tune with the likes of painters mccahon and hotere for dark majesty, and with many other aotearoa artists, writers and filmmakers for its dreamlike evocations of landscape and form. singer demarnia lloyd’s intimate, fragile voice is set to lush orchestration, exotic instruments and ominous underlying drones, as her dreams become reality recognised through song. a gorgeous and peerless musical masterpiece.” smokecds.com

#009 mestar steamer (2000)

“mestar are a more conventional ‘dunedin band’ ‐ guitar, drums, songs, power chords. their six song ep steamer improves technically on their 1998 debut album. guitarist / vocalist john white shows that he understands the soft verse / loud chorus principle without resorting to embarrassing kurt cobain impressions, and comes up with some real hooks.”

nick bollinger in the nz listener, may 20 2000.

“much loved at noisy neighbours central, john white, stefan bray and ian wilson peak again with more all‐original swinging dirty guitar pop on the six song disc, steamer. from the audience‐refrain‐friendly opener, “give us a break”, the trio rock and rave past moods and metaphors to get to the “mestar song”. tacked on the end of steamer, their timely inclusion of the self‐asserting latter only serves to solidify their audience support. as the teletubbies are want to exclaim, “again, again!”

noisy neighbours, real groove, june 2000

“this is the first mestar stuff i’ve heard apart from the impressive live version of choo choo train on last year’s arclife live album but they also have a self titled debut currently distributed by flying in. mestar are a three piece who against the backdrop of current dumedin music appear to be quite rocky but are really secret experts at producing interesting pop songs. guitarist / vocalist john white has a charming childlike voice, the cuteness of which is reinforced by his romantic lyrical turn of phrase, for example, “everyone is lost at sea and i wish a princess would come and save me” and “as the clouds go chooka choo overhead” from “princess st”. this ep is great, i want more, there should be an album in 2001 apparently. you’ll like this if you like sparklehorse. ps demarnia lloyd and mestar played at the wunderbar at the end of april and you should be sorry if you missed them.”

“canta”, university of canterbury paper, 2000.

#008 demarnia lloyd trace (2000)

“demarnia lloyd could but thrive in dunedin’s hermetic conditions. a sometime singer in the sprawling mink, her solo works marries musical minimalism to a kind of performance poetry. written and recorded over two days early in the new millennium, trace finds lloyd’s feathery soprano whispering melodies of nursery‐rhyme simplicity over tense, hand‐stiched backings. on ‘furrow’ her nylon‐string guitar is so sparse it could be a looped sample; on ‘folding’ she samples what sounds like the last gasp of a dying barrel organ. like the disc’s onion‐skin sleeve, the music has a feeling of transparency, yet there’s something faintly menacing within lloyd’s fragile package. lines such as ‘i want to crush your face into the ground’ leap out, even though they are sung ‐ as ever ‐ in a sweet girlish whisper .”

nick bollinger in the nz listener, may 20 2000.

“the deceptively gentle voice and lulling tone of demarnia lloyd (cloudboy, mink) are revisited once again with her new ep, trace (arclife). featuring a wash of subtle, simple backing, lloyd’s vocal harmonies sooth the somewhat brutal emotions aired in her lyrics, and the effect is spine‐chilling at best ‐ listen to ‘anything’ or ‘folding’ and feel the emotion ooze. the moody atmospheric tones and samples blend with the vocals and lyrics perfectly, to produce (in spirit at least) the first dunedin folk‐goth amalgam project. pick your moment to bite into trace and the taste will rattle your teeth.”

noisy neighbours, real groove, june 2000

“a work of rare genuine emotional intensity”

canta, canterbury university newspaper, 2000.

#007 arc flying way too high 18 track cd compilation (2000)

“this album is another fine audio snapshot of the vibrant musical scene that surrounds arc cafe in dunedin. open track is jay clarkson’s elegantly understated ‘flying’. i urge you to check out ‘kindle’, her excellent album released last year. next up are suka, with a fine slice of instrumental noodling, in an hdu vein. other acts of note include maryrose crook with the introspective solo tune ‘storm from the east’; demarnia lloyd; david kilgour weighs in with a solo ambient country/surf guitar instrumental (way cool!); and jay clarkson and john white (from mestar, who also feature) do a stripped down version of jpse’s ‘shiver’, with vocals, guitar and violin. a lot of the music here is decidedly low‐key and singer/songwriter driven. a new trend in southern music perhaps? however, there’s also a healthy dose of distorted guitar, just to balance things out. i’d say the strongest material here comes from the low‐key brigade.”

pavement, june/july 2000

“dunedin’s arc cafe has been nurturing otago musical talent for some three years now. this is arc’s third cd sampler comprising 18 acts who have played at the cafe in the last year. many tracks are live recordings of performances while others were recorded at the arclife studio. while musical styles represented here are diverse, arc is defining the new dunedin underground sound or ethic, as flying nun did 20 years ago. we are already familiar with many of the forms here: the gothic folk rock of jay clarkson; cloudboy’s industrial monk chants; jettison, combining the b52s with sonic youth; the upbeat noise of kitset; metstar’s bubblegum bounce; and their mentor, david kilgour’s guitar instrumental. recording quality is high each way, while production is generally of an authentically low gloss. if only there was an arc in every town.”

nz musician, vol 8 no. 9 june/july 2000

“the live recording here is some of the best i’ve heard coming out of dunedin.”
critic, otago university

“some of the most innovative thought provoking songs of the century”

salient, victoria unviersity of wellington

#006 jay clarkson kindle (1999) “one of the top 5 releases of 1999”

pavement magazine

“the last time jay clarkson passed this way was almost a decade ago, with an album made on the proceeds of a short‐lived music award sponsorted by a beer company. back then the southland singer‐songwriter was carrying a full band and recording in well‐appointed auckland studios. kindle finds her bandless, back in the deep south and handling all instruments herself on a homespun recording. and that’s not a bad thing.

jay clarkson / kindle cd instruments herself on a homespun recording. and that’s not a bad thing.

clarkson delivers these nine fine new songs at sitting room volume with low‐key but intricate accompaniment: well‐woven electric guitar lines and el cheapo organ with built‐in rhythm machine. her quietly controlled singing invites one to gather in closer and hear her stories. people make demos more lavish than this, yet it’s hard to imagine a bigger production improving on kindle for atmosphere and intimacy. let’s just hope it’s less than nine years before the next one.”

nick bollinger, new zealand listener, october 30, 1999, new zealand.

“finally! a new jay clarkson album after all these years and we’re delighted to announce that kindle is the reckid we always hoped she’d make ‐ no budget, no fuckwit producer, just a woman, some noisemakers and a 4‐track. the results are simply, simply gorgeous! nine songs of unassuming, casual beauty but full of arrangement quirks and tonal suprises (including some superb 3rd vu album guitar limpidities). this is exactly what our homebound musical taonga oughta be doing… ie: forgetting about “career” and making songs and recording the fucking things! oh yeah!”
millennial prerequisites, real groove, november 1999, new zealand.

“the thriving arc cafe cottage recording industry in dunedin is on to its sixth release with jay clarkson’s latest album kindle, and a very late night, cafe‐friendly prospect it is. despite a lyrical leaning toward the dark(er) side of life, in character if not in deed, clarkson’s intimate and winding melodies are perfectly complemented by her understated guitar and voice, and are as welcome as a sunday morning cappuccino, even after only a short listen. to enter the kindle mood, go straight to wheeling, this clown or time ‐ you won’t be disappointed.”
noisy neighbours, real groove, november 1999, new zealand.

“jay clarkson returns in fine form after a very long silence. last time we heard from her was in the early ’90s with breathing cage and solo work released on flying nun. kindle is a collection of tunes put together at her dunedin home studio but there is nothing lo‐fi about this album. rather, it’s more low‐key. this disc is gentle, lolling folk‐pop that is wistful, tender and sweet on the ears, with a hint of something slightly sinister lurking just around the corner.”

pavement, december 1999 / january 2000, new zealand.

#005 arc arclife live compilation (1999) compilation of the year

crawlspace awards, 1999

#004 kitset testpot (1999)

best rock/pop release nomination best new act nomination
best indepdendent release nomination 1999 nz b.net awards

“…this first offering from locals kitset is a treat indeed. the three piece…brew up a warm and endearing sound, steeped in the rich heritage of dunedin music, from the legacy of the clean, through to the present day…testpot hails the guitar dynamics of david kilgour, the density of snapper, or the classic pop of the chills and others. current radio one hit it’s open highlights the songwriting abilities of these folks, epic in scope, evoking a rainswept night at the top of mt cargill….testpot is at least one piece of evidence that dunedin music is in safe hands, but with these musicians having about thirty years playing experience between them, that should be no surprise. “
gavin bertram, critic 3/5/99

“with fantastic textural guitars and keyboards washing around oblique arrangements, kitset, for want of a better term of reference, are dunedin to a tee. the likes of bailterspace and peter gutteridge spring to mind listening to this debut which is a darkly laconic affair, peppered with chills‐esque keyboards, but mainly notable for its overdriven, drenching guitars. the drum section unfortunately gets a rough deal in the mix and the overall production is probably best described as ‘mid‐fi’, although this only aids the kitset sound further. student radio fave opossum features, which is pleasant enough but not nearly as arresting as some of the other sonic diversions on ‘testpot’, such as poppy opener stuck and the exploratory vistas of passerby, from the hollows and formaldahide (sic). keep that cd player ticking over for the hidden track too. brilliantly

cerebral stuff. “

nz musician, june‐july 1999

“kitset’s rising popularity is maybe due to their seamless continuation of everything that is loved about the dunedin sound, and their album sounds endearingly local without being annoyingly lo‐fi. some great songs too! ” marcus milk, fink 7/3/99

#003 mestar mestar (1998)

best rock/pop release nomination best new act nomination
best indepdendent release nomination 1999 nz b.net awards

winner 1999 ousa battle of the bands.
real groove album of the month december 1998

“mestar’s record is quality stuff; cruisy, very user‐friendly tunes with warmth and fire.”
real groove, december 1998

#002 suka spitwinterspit (1998)

suka’s self‐released spitwinterspit (arclife, 135 high st, dunedin) is a fine cd from a band that is sorta missing link between the 80’s era ‘melodic’ flying nun dunedin bands and yer ‘ambient noise’ of the late 90’s hdu. they embrace the best of both approaches sounding like graeme downs one minute and n.y avant‐noise the next. a most attractive package to those with open minds and ears….

chris knox realgroove jan/feb 1999

this often spectacular album has a homemade quality and a level of despair that i’m becoming quite smitten with…. suka have a lot to offer; their heights are striking and their lows are few.
dan popwatch no. 10

having an extreme manifesto also, but in the realms of port chalmers/dead c/plagal grind and all other things southern and no‐fi, suka present their second album for consumption. art is good, noise is good…. mac hodge realgroove jan/feb 1999

this album ranges from some truly bizarre, strange and even caustic sounds to a perfect representation of pure peace as a sound…. with spitwinterspit, suka have gone out in every direction. their noise is noisier and their quieter moments are just sublime.

darryl baser odt 11 dec. 1998

moody abstract, lo fi trance rock noodlings from the mainland… from arty noise chaos to lilting twisted melody.
pavement magazine febuary/march 1999

#001 arc music of dunedin 18 track compilation (1998)

it all hangs together fine and there’s some great shit on it…we say you buy it
chris knox, real groove, april 1998.

jay clarkson and robert scott are both in particularly fine form with new songs. but there’s seriously good stuff too from newer names like cloudboy, mestar, suka, the dark beaks (whose roll along is a catchy highpoint) and jetty (whose white boys on punk is a potential hit single). on the strength of all this, the south might well rise again.

colin hogg, metro, may 1998.

[the album has] a remarkable coherency while not denying individual acts their own sound.
dave williams, nexus (waikato university), march 1998.

the great thing about this compilation is that it brings together a diverse range of artists (18 in all), and it all gels, making it very, very listenable. sharon mciver, christchurch press.

this one sounds even better now than when it came out…why is this? maybe because it has so many good tracks on it, like too many for anyone possibly to not like it and play it incessently…and it does hang together, it does capture a moment in time, like the dunedin double ep did
roi colbert, nz pop list 1 april 1998

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