A Handful of Dust

For their first Christchurch performance together in a very long time, A Handful of Dust (otherwise known as long-time influential New Zealand fringe musicians Alastair Galbraith and Bruce Russell) played the excellently TelstraClear Club, a ‘Yurt’ structure put together for Christchurch Arts Month. Click here for the photoset.

Bruce Russell
Bruce Russell

The show featured Alastair Galbraith explaining the bizarre history of the Glass Harmonium and with both Alastair and Bruce performing solo sets before they came together for an ear-bending finale.

The Rip

Violinist Alastair Galbraith‘s first band. Flanked by Robbie Muir (who went on to make his name with the Dead C)and Peter Jefferies they put out 2 extremely hard to find eps in the mid 80s that show-case Galbraith’s brilliant talent for song-writing at an early age.

Galbraith was originally inspired by witnessing the Clean playing a series of hall gigs back in Dunedin, and immediately formed the Rip with Muir. Both were only 15, so early live performances were a bit of a struggle. Thankfully after a particularly tragic debut (their even younger drummer Nicholas couldn’t make the show – a roped in replacement murdering the 2 songs they managed to play), Wayne Elsey (the Stones / Double Happys) offered a helping hand:

[Wayne Elsey] was there and asked me to come and sit on the steps with him, and just…Blew me away. He told me that i had something, something that he couldn’t really describe, not a great musical talent or instrumental proficiency, more of a spirit that he could see when i played, and that i had to keep doing it. He offered to help me any way he could, and he actually did that over the next few months. He got Robbie a better bass, let us use their practice space, got us gigs supporting the Stones and just encouraged us the whole time, saving us from a very, very short career.
Alastair Galbraith

Discography (picks in bold)

Video Clips

See-Also

Robert Scott

Bass player for the Clean and highly prolific singer-songwriter for the Bats (whom he formed while the Clean were on hiatus in the mid 80s), Rob Scott released his own solo album in 2000, and took the albums name (Creeping Unknown) as his moniker for subsequent tours around New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

However closely linked to the Bats, The Creeping Unknown was a darker album aimed at being an organic cross-pollunation type release (it encompassed a lot of electronically produced soundscapes and texture) than any of his Bats recordings. It faired pretty well, being a pretty clean progression towards a more modern sound (though not quite as effectively as say, Shayne Carters’ Dimmer project).

Scott made his start as an underground tape enthusiast, forming the Every Secret Thing cassette label in the late 70s, and releasing a handful of albums from his own projects (primarily Electric Blood) and many others by the likes of Michael Morley and Denise Roughan (including a very rare Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos release).

Since 2002 Scott has become increasingly prolific once more, with a variety of home-recorded releases appearing on the low-rent Powertools label, on more professional efforts on Flying Nun, and a couple of joint singles.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Black Forest 7″ [w/ Alastair Galbraith 1998 Self-Released]
  • The Creeping Unknown [2000 Flying Nun FN447]
  • Tudor Gates EP [2002 Self-Released]
  • @Radio One CD-r EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Songs of Otago’s Past CD-r [2004 Powertool Records]
  • Tascam Hits [2004 Powertool Records PT065]
  • Moonlighty Potato [w/ Ginna Rocco 2006 Powertool Records PT065]
  • Too Early 7″ Single [2010 A Small Number of Things]
  • Moonlight Potato [w/ Ginna Rocco 2006 Powertool Records PT044]
  • That’s What I Heard 7″ [w/ Adalita Srsen and the Puddle 2010 Fishrider Records]
  • Ends Run Together [2010 Flying Nun FN507]

See-Also

Xpressway

Xpressway was formed by Bruce Russell in 1985 to release his then-fledgling Christchurch band the Dead C, live archival recordings from This Kind Of Punishment and the debut solo material from Alastair Galbraith. Over the course of the next 23 (mostly cassette-only) releases, Xpressway, Russell and his comrades themselves formed an ever-growing niche-market of dark, brooding releases, mostly in lo-fidelity form, but full of character.

Xpressway was the label that set the careers of Stephen Cogle, Peter Stapleton and Brian Crook (between them being a major part of Victor Dimisich, Scorched Earth Policy, the Terminals and the Renderers), the Jefferies brothers and David Mitchell in motion, quite an achievement. Their brilliant compilations Xpressway Pile-Up and Making Losers Happy were re-released by overseas labels in the early 90s, hastening the influence of these inspiring 23 releases.

Russell ended the label once they had achieved global recognition, as he had always intended Xpressway to be a stepping-stone toward competent distribution, and they had achieved that by the early 1990s with American labels like Siltbreeze, Drunken Fish, and Kranky and European labels Turbulence, Ajax and Raffmond picking up a fair portion of the labels many talented musicians. Russell then launched Corpus Hermeticum – an outlet for even more challanging music (mostly by his own personal pool of musicians, but expanding into even overseas experimental and underground musicians).

Compilation Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Xpressway Pile Up [1988 XWAY5]
  • I Hate Pavel Tishy’s Guts [1989? promo issued in 2 versions XWAY6]
  • Xpressway Pile=up [reissue with extra tracks 1990]
  • Making Losers Happy [1991]
  • Whats That Noise? 7″ album [1992]
  • I Hear The Devil Calling Me 7″ album [distributed by drag city 1993]

Contact Details

This Kind Of Punishment

After Nocturnal Projections went their seperate ways in the early 80s, the two Jefferies brothers formed This Kind Of Punishment, a group that expanded their song-writing capabilities, and the punky style in which Nocturnal Projections had created. This Kind Of Punishment’s albums are quite often eery and detached, with Peter’s voice cutting through the shards of piano and guitar like it was deathly silence. Over the years the brothers accumulated a large list of contributors, with Andrew Frengley, Gordon Rutherford, Michael Harrison, Maxine Fleming, Michael Morley, Alastair Galbraith, Shayne Carter and the burgeoning talents of Grant Fell and Chris Matthews (who would later take the essence of the Matthews penned ‘Sleepwalking’ as the basis for a Headless Chickens track – and make it a hit).

This Kind Of Punishment have had a huge impact on the darker side of New Zealand rock, and their 1st two releases are well worth seeking out. By 1984 TKOP were a four-piece comprised of the two Jefferies brothers, Fell and Matthews – and played live consistently, touring the nation with Jay Clarkson‘s Expendables (from which the tkp live ’85 album is culled).

Soon after, an arts festival, “the nit-picker’s picnic,” dissolved this amalgam and a single 1986 performance with the line-up of the jefferies brothers, michael morley and shayne carter saw the end of the band.
– Dan Vallor: taken from Popwatch #9

Cakekitchen), whilst Fell and Matthews (and one-time TKOP contributor Johnny Pierce) were already establishing Childrens Hour, the fore-runner to the ever-popular Headless Chickens.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • This Kind Of Punishment [1983 Flying Nun Tkp001]
  • A Beard Of Bees [1985 Self-Released Tkp002] Rn
  • 5 By Four Ep [1985 Flying Nun Tkp003]
  • In The Same Room [1987 Flying Nun Tfp004]
  • Tkp Live ’85 [1988 Xpressway X/Way 02]
  • A Beard Of Bees Cassette Reissue [1990 Compiled Reissue Xpressway X/Way 15]
  • This Kind Of Punishment [1993 Reissue Roofbolt]
  • In The Same Room / 5 By Four [1993 Reissue Ajax]

See-Also

A Handful Of Dust

Biography

One of Bruce Russell’s (Dead C) and Alastair Gailbraith’s darkest outfits, often dealing with distinct imagery and motif’s in their music and especially pro-nounced in their liner notes (most of which are distributed through Russell’s Corpus Hermeticum label). Essentially a Russell and Galbraith duo, but eter Stapleton has been a regular contributor.

Members

  • Alastair Galbraith (Violin/Keyboard/Guitar/Lute/Vocals, 1992 -)
  • Bruce Russell (Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals/Percussion/Organ/Kazoo, 1992 -)
  • Peter Stapleton (Drums, 1993)

Discography

  • A Little Aesthetic Discourse (1992, Xpressway/Twisted Village)
  • Concord (1993, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES001)
  • The Philosophick Mercury (1994, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES002)
  • The Eightness Of Adam Qadmon Cassette (1994, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES003)
  • The Seventhness Lathe-Cut 7″ (1994 , Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES004)
  • Music Humana (, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES005)
  • Three Dances In Honour Of Sabbatai Sevi, The Apostate Messiah Lathe-Cut 7″ EP (1994, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES006)
  • Crank #4 (w/ Alan Licht 1994, Crank Automotive, C1)
  • From A Soundtrack To The Anabase Of St-John Perse (1995, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES009)
  • Authority Over All Signs Of The Earth Lathe-Cut 7″ Single (1995, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES010)
  • Topology Of A Phantom City Cassette (1995, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES020)
  • Now Gods, Stand Up For Bastards (1996, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES013)
  • Urban Psychogeography, Vol Ii: Jerusalem, Street Of Graves (1998, Corpus Hermeticum, HERMES029)
  • Topology Of A Phantom City (1997, Corpus Hermeticum)
  • Spiritual Libertines (1996, Crank Automotive, C6)
  • For Patti Smith (2002, Freewaysound, Freewaysound003)
  • Mared’ Milk Mixed With Blood (2003, Non Mi Piace, 07)
  • Panegyric (2009, Next Best Way, NBWAY08)

Links

 

Nigel Bunn

Biography

Trumpets blow out of walls, guitars shoot auditory tendrils out of the earth like upward lunging ivy plants, organs drone and lurch and steam like black rain clouds from the next to last days, speckled electronic tones dance across the spectrum like gas bubbles belched out of a catfish’s burrow and into some hidden eddy that spins it miles away before it hits the surface.
– Bill Meyer

A textually inclined song-smith with connections to Alistair Galbraith, Bunn has been very slow at releasing his recorded material, with Index¬†(his debut full length) surfacing almost a decade after Galbraith included his ‘Goodbye God Baby Goodbye‘ on the Killing Capitalism with Kindness compilation.

Members

  • Nigel Bunn

Discography

  • Earlyman Recordings 7″ Lathe (1996, Trinder Music, TM08)
  • Index (1999, Emperor Jones, EJ24CD)

Links

Alastair Galbraith

an accomplished violinist and a naturally talented song-writer (who cut his teeth in his mid teens with the brilliant but under-recorded the rip), galbraith has quietly gone about producing a number of excellent solo albums through a long, consistant career, and has often featured guests by the likes of shayne carter and david mitchell.
in 1986 a now quickly expanding