April 29, 2008

Kenny Vance

Solo Kenny Vance debut album, Vance 32 became an extremely rare recording, maybe due to its anomalous reaction in the general music scenario of its time. It was clearly intented to be a commercial hit, but, starting from its nonsense cover, it didn't fit the industry in several aspects - and neither did it find a cult segment of appreciation.
Former Jay and the Americans member, it is clear that Vance is a doo-wop aficcionado; since the early 60's, his musical intents have never left this territory, although expressed in a slight different manner in this album.
Recently reissued in digital format for the first time by japanese label Vivid Sound, Vance 32 gathers harmony-vocal pop elements from the 40's, extremely mellow love songs in roots 50's rock & roll style, even resembling psychedelic in some moments; all of these influences processed in a neo doo-wop aesthetic.
This barely conceptual work had no similar release in Kenny Vance's carrer, virtually based in film soundtracks and in his latter work in Kenny Vance & The Platones.

Vance 32 / 214 VBR

April 24, 2008

Siro Bercetche

Musician, philosopher and video director
Siro Bercetche, in 'Musica Simple para Gente Complicada' (Simple Music for Complicated People), produces, as suggested, simple music. This recording, which took aproximately 8 months of production, is a mixture of latin influences and american folk music (the chords do not sound folk at all, still it is hard not to consider it a folk recording), with subtle experimentations with field recordings and sampling. In this interview, Bercetche describes his music as "Tranquil, without many surprises and extremely repetitive. As if my guitar were a sampler. I like the idea that all my tunes are similar to each other, it amuses me". This is a very consistent work, in its lovely unpretentiousness.

This album is one of the first argentinean Estamos Felices Records releases.
His work as a video director can by seen here in his (probable) YouTube profile.

Musica Simple para Gente Complicada / 192k

April 17, 2008

Beat Happening

Historical Beat Happening debut album, this is a spit on the face of music itself. The totally lo-fi production seems like the first ever made disconsidering Daniel Johnston's barely unintentional style. The original vynil tracklisting is nearly perfect; pitifully people found a waste not to fulfill an entire CD in the early nineties, therefore its digital version contains an unfortunate overwhelming amount of b-sides.

(1985) Beat Happening - Beat Happening / 171 VBR

April 16, 2008


"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.


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

(1998) Sexual / 320k

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

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

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

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

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.


(1998) Poin / 160k

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

(2000) Ones / 160k

(2005) Spears / 128k

(2005) Worldwide Skull / 192k

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

(2008) Punches / 192k

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


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