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The Palace Of Wisdom

Biography

The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnstone (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Moody took over his lead guitar duties.

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors.

The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist. Summerfield would eventually find himself back in the group after a hilarious stage moment at the (now bull-dozed) New Brighton Tavern which saw Kelly replaced mid-set by multi-instrumentalist Rhett Copland, and this line-up played quite a few shows over the next couple years.

Which Palace’s recorded output completely stagnant Ox formed a new group with guitarist Dave Branton named The Ruling Elite, which eventually picked up Andrews (switching to 2nd guitar). Eventually both groups began utilizing talented free-form drummer Rory ‘IRD’ Dalley – with the new group quickly writing and recording a whole swag of new recorded output, whilst Palace remains a tight live-act-only type of group.

Over the course of the last 15 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.

 

Members

  • Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell (Vocals, 1999-)
  • Ben Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2009)
  • Matt ‘Alien’ Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2002)
  • Ian Lloyd (Bass, 1999)
  • Alan ‘ALC5’ Cameron (Bass, 2000-2001)
  • Mick Elborado (Bass, 2001-2007)
  • Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson (Drums, 2002-2003)
  • Tim MacDonald (Drums, 2003)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 2003-2004)
  • Chris Andrews (Drums/Bass, 2004-2010, 2011-)
  • Jared Kelly (Bass/Drums, 2008-2010, 2012)
  • Rhett Copland (Drums, 2012)
  • Aiden Moody (Guitar, 2008-2010)
  • Michael Summerfield (Drums, 2010-2012)
  • John Harris (Guitar, 2010-)
  • Rory Dalley (Drums, 2015-)

Discography

  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]

    Links

  • MySpace
  • BandCamp
  • Facebook
  • LastFM
  • Photo’s on Flickr
Categories
s artists

Space Luxor

A one-off tape release (and a compilation contribution) on Hamish Noonan’s High Tension House label, Space Luxor was the result of Spacedust‘s Duane Zarakov and Lisa Preston (Snort, Lo-Liners) recording with Luxor Dance Ensemble Members Noonan and Richard Neave (CM Ensemble etc).

Sounds suspiciously like the ultra-rare Saturn LP of Sun Ra covering Metal Machine Music.
Hamish Noonan

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Categories
Record Labels

Apoplexy

Biography

Fine formerly Christchurch-based (their first release was a 7″ Lathe by Atonal Death in 1998), that moved with label-head Peter Wright to his new base in London in 2003.

Ever-linked with the similarly-focused kRkRkRk label (who also release Wright’s material), Apoplexy has a less industrial focus, releasing artists such as Polio, Antony Milton, and with a back-catalog that includes material as varied as Atonal Death and Nick Hodgsons’ CM Ensemble material.

Compilation Discography

Contact Details

Links

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Interviews

Campbell Kneale [December 2002]

First off, describe your music in 10 words or less

Antarcticish.

Please substitute my use of the genre label ‘noise’, i’m not particularly fond of it myself..

Neither. ‘Noise’ is term usually used by Kylie fans to make generalizations about music that threatens them. Or nu-metallers to describe soundtrack-making, punk-prog bands with beards and turntables. neither of the above have any right to use the word.

You have a huge catalog – not just under the ‘Birchville Cat Motel‘ moniker but a number of other side-projects. if somebody was interested in delving into your releases — where should they start, and why?

That’s a very big question. Tsk.
In spite of the two-car-garage sized back-catalog (i forget how many… maybe 50-60?) every Birchville Cat Motel release is different and has its own unique voice due to the fact that Birchville Cat Motel is more about a methodology, or means of making music, rather than creating a ‘sound’ easily identifiable as Birchville Cat Motel.

The early recordings were very loud and caustic, as time has progressed, the aesthetic matured and personalized, and i began to find that i was increasingly drawn to the complexities of quieter textures. i have my personal favorites which i’m sure will prompt heated debate among my peers. On a desert island with only my own records for company I would choose…

‘We count these prayers’ CD (Corpus Hermeticum, NZ) 2001
Probably the best guitar-based record i ever made. The balance between dissonance, consonance, and slow motion, junk-crush is pretty compelling. A subtly illuminating record.

‘Crestfallen’ 7″ (Killer Records, Norway) 2001
An oceanic kinda drifting thing made up from largely acoustic instruments and tweaked kitchen gadgets. My favorite ‘Sunset’ record.

‘Summers seething pulse’ CD (Elsie and Jack, UK) 2003
Actually it’s not due out until the end of December but it’s a real doozy. A very creamy platter of head-sauce. Amplified picture framing wire and electric wallpaper are only some of the first-class doo-dads i invented for this release. Rock’n’rolls very own birdman contest.

New Zealand actually has quite a collection of ‘textural’ musicians. With the success of Alistair Galbraith, The Dead C, Roy Montgomery, Wreck Small Speakers etc, how do you think people in know perceive New Zealand on an international scale?

Well, with all due respect to all those luminaries listed and not to deny the impact they have had on the perception of NZ music overseas… they represent the ‘old farts scene’. Although I am very familiar with their material, i personally don’t feel any real affiliation with these artists with regards to my own work.

These folk were making cutting edge records 15 years ago. the international record-buying public know a shitload more about NZ underground music than your average NZ music journalist. The Dead C are still invisible to the NZ music media in spite of having influenced an entire generation of musicians from Sebadoh to Sonic Youth, let alone little old me. Other than the odd bunch of records i sell at a live show, all of my records go overseas to a large audience of enthusiasts who know all about your neighbor who dubs cassettes of his band off in editions of 20.

Who do you see as your contemporaries?

If by ‘contemporaries’ you mean ‘lunatic noise buddies’, then my contemporaries are many. I mean, if you think of ‘music’ as a small subset of ‘sound’ you get a better idea of the scale of sonic ground ripe for exploration. In October i performed at the lines of flight festival in Dunedin which covered a healthy swag of artists who are prominent within the New Zealand and international community. Bruce Russell, Sandoz Lab Technicians, Peter Wright, Nova Scotia, CM Ensemble, K-Group, Omit, Esosteel… All of whom have many top-notch releases are very visible within their respective non-genres internationally.

Overseas there are communities that run parallel to the New Zealand thing too… Europe, UK, USA, Japan… And it is becoming easier, not to mention increasingly beneficial, for many of us to network with the various organizations involved for distribution of our records and touring. the upcoming European tour is all about creating contacts and forming a live circuit to get more of our music over there.

We get paid well, sell lots of records, and perform to large enthusiastic audiences. whereas, I have pretty much ‘retired’ from playing live in any regular sense here in NZ. I don’t feel compelled to play for 4 people any more.

Do you consider your music to be more influential or recognized overseas than in New Zealand?

on my most recent tour of Japan i visited record shops in Tokyo and a number of other cities that had a whole celebrate psi phenomenon section! i met bands who shyly stated in their very best English that they had been profoundly influenced by my records! it was a truly humbling experience.

I discovered first hand that New Zealand underground music is treated with near-reverence everywhere except New Zealand.

My upcoming tour of Europe i will be stopping by Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and the UK. I have significant fan-bases in all of these countries. Most of my records go to the USA.

To contrast, in NZ I have only just started to have shows where more than a small handful of people come along. Not that long ago i was billed in a local gig guide as a visiting US guitarist!

A lot of musicians credit krautrock, japanoise and the likes of the Berlin avant garde scene as important influences. Do you feel any particular ‘scene’ has influenced your recordings?

Nope. the last record i paid money for was Motley Crues ‘Shout at the devil’.

I like some japanoise-related stuff like Merzbow, MSBR, and Guilty Connector and I performed with some of them in japan which was quite a thrill. Black-psych like Fushitsusha. I played with some of the Japanese Onkyo dudes here in NZ recently… Toshimaru Nakamura, Sachiko M, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Otomo Yoshihide… They were incredible! i loved them… but i don’t know if they have influenced me. our respective music forms are very personal. time will tell. I don’t think my music can really be internationalized the same way that New Zealand ‘rock’ is.

Birchville Cat Motel is not really influenced by music. I’m more fond of second-hand shops, train stations, old atlases, Antarctica, Siberia, Alaska, Poppy Z Brite books, dodgy heavy metal…

So do you consider your music visually descriptive? or is there some other kind of connection your going for here?

There is some other kind of connection going on. But its a lot less tangible than simply transcribing visual experiences into music. I guess godspeed you black emperor are a prime example of a band that is operates very successfully on this level… undeniable filmic and you almost feel miffed that you can’t see the pictures that should accompany this music.

For me, the experiences i like to work with are those brief fleeting ones, like childhood aromas unleashed from an old cupboard, that infuriating elusiveness of not quite being able to place a certain sensation.

Utterly evocative but impossible to fully apprehend. at these moments you become not just a person in a particular moment, but you connect with something much larger. a personal history, full of things that nobody else could understand, and that you couldn’t really describe in words.

I’ve always sought to find inspiration in my location. currently that location is suburban Lower Hutt. Suburbia has a nasty reputation for being a congregation point for soullessness but i have come to disagree. i have seen brief glimpses of a very deeply ingrained spirituality here, not connected with any obvious religious affiliation, but connected with the big patterns of human existence. work, sleep, travel, children, hospitality, home decorating… what would probably pass as ‘boring’ or ‘insignificant’ to your average e-popping, superficially urbanite, ravebunny, again links people with a much larger pattern of life that has continued unchanged, other than on the surface, for countless generations. i find the mundane beautiful and very grand.

When you played with the touring Japanese, did you play alongside Nakamura’s no-input desk? His performance here in Christchurch with Greg Malcolm was quite spectacular.

Yes. I had been aware of Nakamura’s no-input thing for quite a while and i was pretty excited about the possibility of being able to perform with him. his purity of sound and the purity of intent demonstrated in his work has always struck a chord with me (not a power-chord you understand). i did some recording with Akiyama as well… he’s a fascinating guitarist. very little of what he does sounds like an acoustic guitar.

I understand you like to keep your recordings pretty minimal – what kind of toys do you use to forge and alter your recordings?

I have no personal aversion to overdubs. In fact, most of my music is constructed using layers of overdubbed improvisations. I used to have an old Fostex reel-to-reel 8 track. it was cool but it was becoming expensive tracking down tape and DAT’s to master onto. i switched to computer after I got back from Japan.

Using the computer to record with certainly has opened up new possibilities, but to be honest, i’m not sure i want all those possibilities. sure, its great to be able to record tape-less, mix automatically, master straight to disc, and spit out a CDr at the end of the process, but the ability to ‘alter’ sounds I find hugely distracting. i use the computer as a recorder… that’s all. A bit of EQ, a hint of spatial clarification, but most of those effect knobs make everything sound like wimpy shit. Fine if you want to make electronical but as hard as it may be for some to fathom, i’m not interested in the slightest in electronica.

Do you think the likes of pro-tools and other digital manipulation applications have helped or hindered the course of experimental music?

Um… helped. the digitization of experimental music has seen it become the new punk rock… its strengthened the DIY ethic of self production, self promotion, self dissemination. (the old punk rock works for the factory nowadays)

Do you have any opinions on any of the more commercially leaning bands such as the ‘drone based’ Spacemen 3, Godspeed! Your Black Emperor etc or so-called ‘slow-core’ bands like Bedhead and Low?

Spacemen3 suck. fucking boring English twats. History should confiscate their reputation.

I’m pretty fond of GS!YBE. they’re like everything that Radiohead could have been if they weren’t fucking boring English twats. very cinematic. movie-ish. enigmatic and black.

Bedhead, never heard of them. are they English? Low. zzzzzzz… twats. what about the Melvins?!? aren’t they slow-core?

Promotion time: plug a new release on your label (celebrate psi phenomenon) that you’re not directly involved with.

‘Shutupalreadydamn! A tribute 2 Prince’ Double CD

Everybody who ever heard this says it’s the best compilation they own! 20-something New Zealand and international envelope-pushers getting very loose and covering the little-sexy-purple-muthafucker. It is absolutely stunning what people have done with some extremely non-representative source material. hits! hits! hits! everything from Birchvilles faux-arena rock, to cm ensembles drifting church organ liturgies, to Sunships sex-murder-mass destruction, to Matt Silcocks… um… ‘rap’ to… oh oh, it’s just so damn good all over. The best thing about the compilation is that it is very funny, but never crosses that fine line and becomes a ‘joke’. Tt’s unusually respectful.

Any national tour plans for once you get back from Europe?

Nope.

Would anybody come?

Hahaha. No actually, that’s entirely true. i am hoping to lure some international like-minds to New Zealand with the promise of Marmite, well-paying shows, and mature, respectful New Zealand audiences. If they are silly enough to fall for my slick stories, there could be a tour with Japanese head-crusher MSBR, Norwegian vintage-horror-flick improvisers DEL, and maybe even UK bedroom, laptop-astrologer Simon Wickham smith. We will see.

Categories
c artists

CM Ensemble

now defunct christchurch based experimental ensemble based around nick hodgson and a varying array of performers (lynton denovan, peter wright, richard neave, charles horn, matt wood, tom phillpotts etc) in a large amount of styles. they recorded both electric and acoustic (as the cm acoustic ensemble) material, which was then released by hodgsons’ cm productions label, along with wrights’ apoplexy label, and the port chalmers-based metonymic.

the cm ensemble are part of a new generation of new zealand improvisers. they exist in both small and larger group modes, each based around christchurch multi-instrumentalist and bandleader nick hodgson. over the past two years they have gained a well- deserved reputation for the exceptional power and range of their live performances. love central is their debut cd release on metonymic and perfectly encapsulates the different shades in their music from fiery jazz and rock free play to levitational string dronesrn- forcedexposure.com

discography
picks in bold

  • light and dark structures cd-r [cm productions]
  • last refuge of the insane cd-r [as cm acoustic ensemble 1999? apoplexy apx08]
  • total war: ‘mescaline burst’/’evil dictator’ 7″ lathe-cut [apoplexy apx11]
  • love central [2000 metonymic met010]
Categories
n artists

Richard Neave

Core Member Of Metonymic Young Guns CM Ensemble, Richard Finally Allows Daylight To Strike His Own Home-Taped Skronk. Primal, Profoundly Filthy, And Delightfully Unique Guitarsplatter That Will Leave That Distinctive Odour Of Electrical Smoke Wherever You Play It. People Who Had Their Chandeliers Lit By Totals Sky Blue Void Or Dead C’S Driver Ufo Should Definately Fill Out The Attached Form. Post-Morley!
– Label description of ‘You’re not welcome cd-r’ (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon)

Richard Neave was an uncompromising noise artist and extreme audience provoker. He spent years beating up his guitar either solo or flanked by musicians such as Nick Hodgson/Harte, Lee Noyes, Peter Wright etc. Taking great pride in pushing the annoying, provocative nature of his playing he drove audiences away where-ever he played. Needless to say he was a legendary figure in the Christchurch underground music scene and those of us who knew Richard were very sad at his passing in 2010.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • You’re Not Welcome cd-r [Celebrate Psi Phenomenon]
  • Un-Repent (with Lee Noyes) [Ideal State Recordings]

See-Also