Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Local news

Hey hey, it's New Zealand music week!! Dunedin's Radio One has non-stop NZ music blasting all week and while it's too late for you to catch the fantastic Rise Of The City Cat Cult playing live-to-air on the R1 stream (they were on last night), there's a few other bands coming up each weeknight, so fanatics take note; and, if the material promoted by this site is particularly to your liking, then you might kind of definately want to tune into Spit In The Cracks, broadcasting each Sunday from 9pm to 11pm, NZ time (GMT+12), and hosted by UFM's very own Ryan Cockburn and Jim Currin. AND, we'll be jacking up a little ol' live-to-air of our own this week, featuring.... well, us, and Rory Storm and Eddie Stevens. Jamming!

In other news, there are no gigs in Dunedin this week!!! Hurray! Except for... Lee 'Scratch' Perry and The Mad Professor (??). Yeah, you bet I'm going; it's my birthday.

Now that there's only one solitary Sandoz Lab Technician left in Dunedin, I'm not sure that we can call them a DN band anymore; they're "International Improvisers" I guess. Well, internationally speaking, Sandoz played their first ever internationalist gigs in Sydney a week and a bit back, and all reports received by UFM shortwave dishes confirm that they blew away motherfuckers left right and centre. Allow me to quote from MYMWLY's M. Donnelly: "...seriously the most amazing band I have ever seen/heard.... I was not prepared for what they unleashed on Saturday night..... I feel compelled to write a book on the experience....." and believe me there's more. The Sydney shows also featured NZ likelies by the name of Birchville Cat Motel, 1/3 Octave Band, The Stumps, Nether Dawn and the lucky country's own 6Majik9 and the gigantic, huggable Castings, whose Sound No Sound collective set up the gigs, as they did also the Ray Off / Co.,Inc / Tarab shows earlier in the year. Love those boys! Legend has it that Antony Milton, Pseudoarcana Head Banana, has already sought the release of the above-mentioned Saturday night Sandoz gig.... geez, these guys moved to three different cities in two countries and have played together twice in three years, and NOW things are looking up for them??

Lastly, and excitingly, the first of our Mp3's are up, and they work! Two tracks from Donald McPherson's 'Liquified' LP - scroll down to the post titled About: UFM 001. Thanks to Donald for letting us post these - more to come very soon so keep checking back with us......

(in fact, here it is later today and TWO more have been added - roll on down and check the listings for both Ray Off albums. And enjoy!)

Sweet dreams,
...................... ('blog administrator')

Thursday, September 08, 2005

about: the 10" lathes

(UFM 002 and 003)

(....being, perhaps, a study in the operational imperative at the the heart of the UFM soul; to just, please, DO SOMETHING, and SOON; or SOONISH; or be lost....)

In the beginning..... there was a gig in a basement. On the 29th of
august, 2003. The bill read -

- and the event in the newly opened/inhabited None Gallery on Stafford Street, Dunedin,
was the first performance of both the former and the latter.

Both groups shared a similar make-up. they each featured a member of the well-known combo Sandoz Lab Technicians, still extant but slowed down by James Kirk's exodus to Wellington. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Cornelius stood for the 'Forks; Nathan Thompson took up the electric guitar and took a swing at a fresh, pineal Eye. Also, both groups featured a musician whose prowess on their chosen instrument was legendary. Enter Peter Stapleton with his pipeband bass drum and nailgun hands in Eye; whilst Three Forks were grounded in the leather and lace of Donald McPherson's mastery of guitar forms. Finally, each one was rounded out by a relatively recent arrival in Dunedin, both of whom dragged a lengthy, but largely unknown pedigree behind him. Say hello to Eye guitarist Peter Porteous and 'Forks cellist James Currin.

Three Forks started the night and set the blueprint for their
subsequent career - unpredictable, shambolic, brilliant, clattering,
swooping, humourous, occasionally boring, but with striking, lengthy
sections of pure, improvised acoustic gorgeousity. They seemed to
alienate and amaze in equal measure. And Eye..... from the very first
chord of Porteous' slacktuned (and deafeningly loud) instrument
everybody knew that this was a train with moveable rails and no cow
catcher. Their drone - if we can give it such a paltry term - was like
a major key and a minor key who got married and gave birth to
a heavy-lidded man-cudgel.

After things having been pretty slow on the sounds front in Dunedin for some time, it became clear that something was going on. Cool bands were poking out of holes all over the place. So the idea...... the idea was to release a series - 5 or 6 - of 10" lathe records with a different DN band on each side. The first pairing was obvious: and, sometime early in 2004, there it was.

UFM 002 Eye / Three Forks 'Jawbone', 'Arabesque'/'Baby Ives' 10" lathe
OUT OF PRINT MP3 Three Forks 'Baby Ives' 10.8mb

The idea for the second disc, coming not long after, was also born in the None basement, where both acts played the inaugeral (and, to date, only) Nonefest, their completely conflicting styles sounding as natural as water next to each other.

I'm given to believe that the $100 Band actually started in the North Island town of Wanganui, where Alastair Galbraith was an artist-in-residence at the Polytechnic, and drummer Mike Dooley and guitarist/cellist Maxine Funke were members of Dunedin's own Snares, who were on tour at the time. Reconvening down south, their existence was short but intense, leaving behind some killer gigs and bugger-all recordings; Alastair and Maxine headed bush from whence they occasionally emerge playing short but very sweet duo dates.

Since Ryan Cockburn AKA Spit's CDR on this label is impending, I'll write more on him then; suffice to say that at the time of this record's release Ryan was everywhere, smashing up records, gluing 'em, and spinning 'em into maelstromic (no, that's not really a word) sonic bubonics that were, well, pretty sick. The tracks on this disc are with hindsight too nice by half.

UFM 003 $100 Band / Spit 'Old Chronicle'/"Keltic', 'Lament' 10" lathe

Now, there are a lot of folk out there who're big fans of the lathe-cut record, specifically, the Peter King of King Records lathe-cut record. And we all are too. But the amount you have to charge for them to be worth your while doing is kind of a bummer. So the whole series idea was abandoned. The next lathe was to have been Rory Storm & The Invaders / Pirhanarama - sorry dudes. There was a feeling in the air: there was a better way.......!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

about: UFM 001

Donald Mcpherson & co. 'Liquified' lathe LP

Released: late 2002
Recorded: October 21st, 2001
Donald McPherson, guitar
Tim Cornelius, drums
James Currin, cello
Nathan Thompson, piano

In late 2001, the Gresham Hotel near Queens Gardens, Dunedin, was cooking slow but steady. Bar manager/booker Simon Johnston kept the place full of the most interesting musicians in town, and fair-sized audiences regularly packed the tiny room. Well, the room wasn't packed for the extraordinary performance documented on this LP - from memory, it was a freezing Wednesday night and there might - might - have been 10 or 12 people there, warming themselves over cold pints. First, Currin and Thompson played a duet. Then McPherson stepped up with his acoustic guitar and started to improvise solo, and all in the room took pause. His first cd, 'Bramble' (Metonymic) had just been released, but as brilliant as that was, what he laid down at the Gresham was on another level - completely solid, thematic, melodic improvisations, strung together with horsehair and fishing wire, agile as a bird and as implacable as a sealion. Tim Cornelius joined on drums for two pieces; one long and spacious, one short and jolting; McPherson had changed to electric by now. Then all four went at it, creating a beautiful, extended, druggy sprawl that arrested melodic lines from the piano, cello and guitar and beat them with sticks until they howled in unison, with Cornelius' drums skittering across the field.

Long before the notion of a 'label' reared it's head, we undertook to release this gig (almost all of the music featuring McPherson from that night is on the record) in order to alert the world to the kind of trip this bastard was on. And so we did, in some infinitesimally tiny way, with full colour cover art by renowned NZ artist Seraphine Pick. The edition - 40 or so - is of course no longer available.

Cornelius, Currin, and McPherson went on to become Three Forks, extant from March 2002 to January 2005, releasing one side on the long-gone UFM 002 10", one now-deleted 3" on Metonymic, and having two full-length surveys in the works, one on CMR of Auckland and another on this label. One track from 'Liquified', 'Perambulare', was included on the Pseudoarcana compilation CD 'Lowtides Rising'. McPherson has to date not released any more solo material, although there is a rumour that his guitar duets with Tetuzi Akiyama are to see limited LP release - don't blink.

And the Gresham Hotel? Gone. Boarded up; and the whole beautiful building is for sale at three quarters of a million dollars. Simon Johnston, these days, is a caregiver to the intellectually handicapped.

MP3's (128k):
'Fructifying' (solo) 8.3mb
'Tranquillize' (quartet) 11.4mb

(next: 10" to heaven and the death of the lathe...)

Saturday, September 03, 2005


UFM 011 SPIT 'Trash Music Spitacular' CDR

UFM 013 Three Forks 'Seven Layer Ape' CD (?)

and more by:
Ray Off
Sinking Infinities
Rory Storm & The Invaders
Jane Venis

Friday, September 02, 2005

And since then...

.....we've released the following.....

UFM 005 Sinking Infinities 'Forever Young' CDR

UFM 007 Eye 'Black Ice' CDR
$6nz plus postage

UFM 008 Ray Off 'I Am Not In The Racing Sky' CDR
MP3 First Ray 12.3mb

UFM 009 Sinking Infinities 'Thousand-Year Reich' CDR

UFM 010 Rory Storm 'We Are Superior Beings' CDR
$6nz plus postage

(More info next time....)

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