6 Oct 2021

Ōtautahi Nights

From Inside Out, 11:00 pm on 6 October 2021
No caption

Photo: Alex Harmer


Nick features two new recordings from Christchurch, with a real late-night vibe.



Guitarist Heather Webb's band Resolve plays music inspired by Heather's experience of a first-year astrophysics paper at the University of Canterbury.

After a successful performance at the 03 Sessions at Christchurch's Space Academy, Heather took the show to the University of Canterbury New Music Central concert series, in their performance school in Old Chemistry at The Arts Centre, where the recording took place. Here are Heather's notes on the tunes:

Brother Sun Sister Moon

Brother Sun, Sister Moon draws its name from the Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi.  A few years ago I saw a talk from the Pope's astronomer, Guy Consolmango, and he talked about the links between science and religion, and how, contrary to popular belief, these two things can work in harmony.  I particularly like the idea that both religion and science are the pursuit of understanding the mysterious, and that a lot of the oldest/original astronomers were priests.  I think with understanding comes respect, and like to think science (astrophysics) and religion are a kind of way forward or philisophy for showing respect to the Earth and its creatures.  So this song, Brother Sun, Sister Moon is an ode to St. Francis' Canticle of the Sun, with A sections based on 3, 6, and 5 (our orbit around the Sun) and the moon's tidal patterns.

Held Together

Held Together is a co-write with drummer Mitch Thomas.  It is a dedication to the four fundamental forces of the universe - Gravity, Electro-magnetism, Strong Force and Weak Force.  The Grand Unified Theory (GUT) of the four fundamental forces describes different epochs where these forces were unified as one.  This song has a section dedicated to each force, explores how they unify and break apart, and thanks the forces for holding up together.


Resolve was directly inspired by a quote from lecturer Ass. Prof. Karen Pollard, who said, "We can't resolve the stars."  In astrophysics this is referring to the resolution of the telescope and it being impossible to resolve stars as they are point sources of light.  In music, "resolve" describes moments when the music feels like it has returned home.  I loved this poetic phrase and the interesting language crossover that occurs between music and astronomy (eg with the Hubble tuning fork diagram, background noise, resonance, volume and harmony).  So I decided to compose a song that starts in one place (Cmaj/G) and doesn't resolve to that place until the end - i.e. there are never any C major chords again until the big ending resolution.

Heather Webb (guitar) / Darren Pickering (piano) / Reuben Derrick (saxophone) / Michael Story (bass) / Mitchell Thomas (drums)



In the second half of the show, Christchurch pianist Darren Pickering combines synthesiser with a jazz quartet in his Small Worlds set. This was recorded and filmed as part of the Live at Alex's series, run by Alex Harmer. Here are Darren's notes for the tracks. Check out the live video below!


This tune's named after the heavily reversed effect I used on the generative ambient sounds (sequenced & controlled live via my iPad) that formed an integral part of the whole tune.


I often have very creatively productive spurts of activity whilst visiting my parents in Te Awamutu once or twice a year. I have many ideas that i give 'temporary' names to, & there's a whole lot called TA1, TA3, TA4, etc . . . . TA2 is one of the ones that blossomed into a full tune - and I never renamed it!

Strega Tone Poem

I've been going further down the modular synth 'rabbit hole' lately, and am really enjoying exploring the combination of acoustic with electronic elements. This tune was born out of & inspired by the simple 4-bar sequence you can hear throughout the whole piece. The semi-modular synth being sequenced (& manipulated live by metal touch plates) is called the 'Strega' by US company 'Make Noise'.

Darren Pickering (piano & synth)  / Peter Fleming (bass)  / Mitchell Dwyer (guitar) / Mitch Thomas (drums)




# Artist: Song: Composer: Album Label: Duration:
1 Sumo Jazz Blue Hue Pearce Throwing Salt Sumo Jazz 05:48
2 Resolve Brother Sun, Sister Moon Webb Resolve private 07:21
3 Resolve Held Together Webb / Thomas Resolve private 08:51
4 Resolve Resolve Webb Resolve private 04:02
5 Darren Pickering Reverse Pickering Small Worlds private 05:51
6 Darren Pickering TA2 Pickering Small Worlds private 06:21
7 Darren Pickering Strega Tone Poem Pickering Small Worlds private 05:11

Get the RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes