9 Mar 2019

Sound Lounge: 1984 From Scratch music/video - Drum/Sing; Gareth Farr's deconstruction of ‘Now is the Hour'

From Sound Lounge, 9:45 pm on 9 March 2019

From Scratch - Drum/Sing

From Scratch is New Zealand’s best-known art/music ensemble. Formed in 1974, by composer/sculptor Philip Dadson it toured its music to the world in the 1980s and 90s but the ensemble took a break while Philip focused on solo projects.

Phil Dadson

Phil Dadson Photo: Courtesy of NZIFF

Just last year (2018) the group reformed. They dusted off old instruments and old works and included new works and collaborations with the likes of Chris O’Connor, Nell Thomas and Daniel Beban from Orchestra of Spheres, Pitch Black, and the New Pacific Music Ensemble.

Drum/Sing (1984) is one of the seminal From Scratch works featured at the City Gallery, Wellington's exhibition: From Scratch: 555 Moons. The show was named after the number of lunar cycles between the group’s formation and the show’s opening.

Drum/Sing Part 1

Drum/Sing was the first From Scratch piece to explore the use of sung vocals in combination with the percussion stations. It was conceived as a collaboration between the group and film-maker Gregor Nicholas. The resulting 22-minute film screened on New Zealand television in 1985 and was also presented as a short film before screenings of The Quiet Earth "much to the surprise of audiences who had not expected an art-music film to precede their entertainment". However, the film went on to win a Blue Ribbon Award in the Film as Art category at the New York Film Festival, as well as Best Short Film at the New Zealand GOFTA Awards.

The film captures a performance of the group at its professional and creative peak as well as behind the scenes footage of  Phil Dadson, Wayne Liard and Don McGlashan doing their thing.

Drum/Sing Part 2

Gareth Farr - He Poroporoaki

Gareth Farr

Gareth Farr Photo: GarethFarr.com

Gareth Farr’s ‘He Poroporoaki (A Farewell)’ is a deconstruction of ‘Now is the Hour’ (Po Atarau), a song forever associated with the emotions of saying goodbye. It was premiered by Richard Nunns, Gareth Farr and local string players at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 2008.

In this video, we see the New Zealand String Quartet and Rob Thorne Toi Puoro perform the work at NZ Festival’s Te Ao Hou: This New World concert.



Alexandra Hay - White Rain

Alexandra Hay

Alexandra Hay Photo: SOUNZ

Composer and sonic artist Alexandra Hay is currently based in Oakland, California and is releasing electronic music under the moniker Dotter.

Her piece White Rain was written for flute and electronics. Alexandra says: "Silver is the best reflector of visible light known. When raw silver is heated to 2162ºc it becomes a brilliant boiling white liquid. A compound of the same metal (silver iodide) is used to seed clouds to produce rain."

Listen to White Rain here.