Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tasty Thursday Morsels

Check out this awesome video from Cairo Knife Fight. This band is HOT HOT HOT right now. They are winding up their EP Release Tour at the Kings Arms in Auckland on Thursday the 2nd September. If you're in Auckland then get down there, do not miss them!

I asked Nick when they might be back in Christchurch
"Not for awhile now. Just done our EP release show the other day. Possibly in November. We're off to the USA in October and are looking to get out there into NZ again upon our return..."
Sounds good to me.

Well known music blogger Simon Sweetman had this to say about the famed duo in an article appropriated titled "The best band in New Zealand":
"I really do think that Cairo Knife Fight is a world-class act. And one of the most innovative duos working in music - and I say that not only because the band works with a singing drummer, who also provides samples, loops and bass lines while playing drums and singing, but because the dynamic between guitarist/vocalist Aaron Tokona and drummer/singer/everything-elser Nick Gaffaney is perfect."
Enough said really. 

I absolutely love that bands are so generous with their music these days. Yep, I'm love love loving it.

"Sparticus R have almost finished recording their 2nd album and to celebrate they are touring the country and giving away this 4 tracker. Its got something old, something new, something borrowed and something purple! 1 track of the new album, 1 rare recording from the Spartacus R in Octophonic show from 2007 and 2 new remix's of songs from When The Fever Takes Hold."
Taken from Spartacus Bandcamp's blurb.

Palmy Band The Nerines play the Dux tonight with support from Christchurch's Sleepy Age. Should be a good'un.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Barnard's Star Nostalgia

After a few comments on yesterday's blog I turned into the crazy fossicking squirrel and managed to dig out a couple more pieces from my Barnard's Star archive. In the interest of having a complete set online I've posted these remaining bits and bobs for your viewing pleasure.
The His Lordships gig that never happened for bstar. There was a double-booking so
Blister and the other headlining act struck a compromise and both support acts lost out..

Flyers for the first EP release at Venus Cafe.

RDU Party at Mount Hutt 1998

This set of pictures was taken at the RDU work 'do' up at Mount Hutt I can't remember exactly when it was but certainly 1998. Actually, it may have been a Christmas party...

Darius - the roaring gladwrapped man.
It's such a long time ago now, but I remember this being a pretty wild affair. The bands had a captive audience up in the mountains for the night and that atmosphere created some pretty feral performances from one group in particular. I can't remember the bands' name but lead singer Darius(?) wrapped himself in gladwrap, tinfoil and gaffer tape and proceed to scream relentlessly for about 30 minutes. There was not enough beer in the world to make that sound any good. Sorry Darius that's a trifle harsh, perhaps I just didn't have the artistic nouse to 'get it'. In fact this performance is the indelible memory I have of this party - a roaring gladwrapped man.

As far as I was concerned Barnard's Star could do no wrong and the memories I have of this set are that it was a typical one from the band. Understated, polished and sonic. Here's a few pics:

Marcus tuning up - I think the Holden was a recent purchase around this time.

Barnard's Star: Nick, Helen, Tyrone, Sound guy name?, Marcus.
Tyrone and Nick with Mike? from Beat Atlas Records.
Party Party Party

Barnard's Star playing in a garage somewhere in Ilam
Another party - this one was somewhere in Ilam - possibly at Mike's place (gosh was that his name???). The thing I most remember about this party was that we had finally stuck all the second 7" EP covers together and put the albums in them so we took them along to give to various people including the photographer whose wonderful rose photos feature on this album. Well, horror of horrors, I'd spelled her name wrong in the credits. In my defence I'd copied it from info I was given - just happened that the info was wrong. Du-oh! Poor Pip she was so cross. So for the record folks it was Pip Spice NOT Pip Spence.

AND in relation to yesterday's post about photoshop filters the cover for the second 7" EP was all Pip's work not mine. The 'radial spin' you see was from Pip spinning her camera. Now that's old school!


Pikachunes have finished their new EP and you can download it free here. Thanks Pikachunes, that's sorted out my morning listening just nicely.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back when Photoshop was a baby

The studio - what a mess!
Back in the 1990's I was working as a graphic designer in what was, at the time, the ground breaking field of digital design. The studio I worked for was one of the first to adopt the new Power Mac 7100s - the best computers available for graphic design in 1994. From memory they had a speed of 88mHz, 8MB RAM and a staggering 250MB hard drive.

The awesome Power Mac 7100 - Feel the power!

We created large magazines and had to continue to use old technology along with the new to do our job simply because what we were doing was so cutting edge. This was true of all agencies around this time. Every design team was retraining. Digital cameras were still in their infancy. I remember trialling one that took about a minute to 'scan' the object and several more minutes to put the image onscreen. It's cost a mere $12,000! Needless to say all agencies stuck with film for many more years. Photoshop was an integral part of the new design process and it didn't take much to impress people. A simple 'extrude' filter was enough to blow the mind of most folk.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking 'Hang on, I thought this was a blog about music' - well it is - in a round-about way. During this time I had friends who were in Christchurch's much loved band Barnard's Star so I became the obvious and CHEAP choice for band posters, album covers etc. Digital print was also new at this time so being able to produce short runs of full colour posters and covers was pretty fancy too.

Here's an archive of the Barnard's Star album covers and posters created when Photoshop was a baby:
A3 poster for first EP release at Venus Cafe, Lichfield Street.

The first 7" ep. Pressed in Geraldine.
About Barnard's Star

The second 7".
"A wonderful, now-defunct, 4-piece shoe-gazer band out of the garden city that put out 2 singles, along with a few college radio songs and a stunning 5-track EP that turned out to be their parting recording some 2 years later.

Comparisons could be drawn to My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and "Nowhere" era Ride but Barnard's Star took a decidedly more etheral approach - distilling the shoe-gazer sound to a fine pulsing tone, which was quite a spectacle live.

Playing coffee houses and small gigs in sporadic fashion, they became quite the cult act - especially due to their apparent lack of recorded material. So when they broke up in 2002 their recordings became as scarce as the musicians themselves.

Guitarist Marcus has gone on to form The Undercurrents, whilst bass player Helen and guitarist Nick went on to perform material with a synth-drone focus under various names . Finally their drum programmer Tyrone (who replaced original drummer Frazer) moved to Sydney, forming electro outfit Swingingtastybag. He now resides in London. "

From an article by Chris Andrews 

The 5 song EP released 1999
A2 poster

The Barnard's Star EP is available at
Read more: 
Barnard's Star