April 16, 2008

Pumice



"thanks for writing back and removing the downloads. i appreciate it alot. I also really appreciate your situation and desire to share my music with your homeland. Maybe its possible to listen to it on your site but not download? Or you could post just one song from those albums that are still available? Again I am happy you have the rare stuff available for people to listen. And im happy you are listening to my music and giving it such thought.

best
stefan."

The work of Stefan Neville as Pumice, throughout its ten year plus existence, remains as one of the most relevant and prolific in the New Zealand experimental music scene, and undeniably significant in the psych/outsider/free folk (or any other dull labeling) scenario. Altough abiding extreme lo-fi aesthetics and sonic noise explorations, his work has shifted into different sonorities and styles since the mid nineties to the present time.

Neville's work since the mid nineties until 2000 show him in more free improvisational moments, as seen on
I'll Take No Chance Near a Volcano (Stabbies, etc, Cassete - Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, CDR), Poin and Ones. Still folk oriented, Pumice resembles much of Clayton Noone's CJA during that period: ultra-lo-fi rock'and'roll / punk soundscapes, dirty cacophonic acoustic outbursts and old samples manipulations. Sexual, released by Pseudoarcana, definitely gathers all these elements in a destructive no-wave noise-rock live presentation.

(1997) I'll Take No Chance Near A Volcano / 192k
download


(1998) Sexual / 320k
download


Most notably since 2002's White (Stabbies, etc), Stefan Neville reached a (hardly achievable) level of unpretentiousness in his music. Free improvisation decreased, while a broader pallette of musical styles enriched Pumice's sound without losing its identity - on the contrary. White is a dark, noisy and minimalistic record, souding a mixture of NZ-postpunk, psych-folk and ambient, sometimes souding what would be better explored two years later with Antony Milton in Sunken.

(2002) White / 192k
(removed)


Last Visible Dog's Raft, released two years later, is a true masterpiece. The opener 'Pumiceraft' is an ambient-surfmusic lullaby, followed by a minute-long acoustic pop-punk track. The next two songs could well be obscure recordings from the Mutantes that were too harsh to be released. 'Ridge' is an epic organ hymn, while 'Awe of Oar' could well be a drunken mantra. 'Pudding Stone' is the reflex of the interaction between him and the Jewelled Antler Collective (Society of Dogs split with Armpit), matching Glenn Donaldson's Birdtree/Ivytree songs. Raft is undoubtly one of the most creative albums in recent years, obviously underrated before its geniality.

(2004) Raft / 192k
(removed)


Yeahnahvienna is his most concise album, seemingly instrumentally conceptual: 'Abominable', 'King Korny Remains' and 'Brawl' seem compositionally connected , and the same is observed in the second group, 'Wild Dogs', 'Tears Tasting Fair' and 'Darkpark'. Finally, 'Worsted' has 4 variations over the same theme. This 2006 album was the first release by NY's Soft Abuse.

(2006) Yeahnahvienna / 230 VBR
download


Pumice's last proper release was Pebbles, in 2007. As respectfully mentioned in the Kiwi Tapes blog about this album, "It's clear right from the start that he has spent a great deal of time internalizing all of the important aspects of kiwi rock, specifically the warm analog textural goodness of the Xpressway scene." 'Eyebath', 'Stopover' and 'Northland' are clearly 80's style New Zealand postpunk (specially from the referred local label); the leap to the 90's are much in the ways of Alastair Galbraith in songs like 'Bold/Old' and 'Brownbrownbrown'.

(2007) Pebbles / 192k
(removed)


Stefan Neville, as Pumice, crafts the idea of music in such idiosyncratic ways that it is impossible not to reconsider its standpoints. His radicalism towards music recalls the work of contempories such as (already mentioned) Glenn Donaldson and Richard Youngs: the first applying his unique aesthetical concepts of the limits of lofi recordings in countless musical projects; the latter, since the early nineties, puts in question the idea of good (or bad) taste and the limits of the unbearable in music.

Extras:

(1998) Poin / 160k
download

(1998) Let's Treat The Pigshead As Dip / 192k
download

(2000) Ones / 160k
download

(2005) Spears / 128k
download

(2005) Worldwide Skull / 192k
download


(2006) Pewt'r Trust & Pumice Split - Radio Centraal / 192k
download

(2008) Punches / 192k
download

See also:

NZ Series #2: Antony Milton, Stefan Neville and Clayton Noone

NZ Series #1: Armpit / CJA

Labels (not before mentioned):

Rural Faune
Ultra Eczema

6 comments:

Jasper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasper said...

I love the NZ drone/avant garde scene. Thanks a lot

Mr. Letárgico said...

Hermosa discografia

::: GRACIAS :::

juan said...

Thanks for sharing, Great body of work here with Neville, sounds like
the harsh Dead c noise balanced by the intimate sound of Galbraith.

Thanks Juan

Anonymous said...

hello, didn't know about the armpit / pumice cdr! and thanks to you learned 'bout it and downloaded! i like a lot his work and is great to see a great part of his discography collected in a blog!!!
keep up the cool work!
nicolas

www.void.gr/absurd

Bruno Parisse said...

updated link for the label is : www.myspace.com/ruralfaunelovesyou

thanks for your work

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