A few weeks ago I tuned into Radio One 91FM on a Tuesday night and listened to a mysterious new show called ‘Negative Space’. The ‘Negative Space’ bio on Facebook informs the listener that the show’s DJ, Brackets, “cares about representing female producers,” urging us to “bring equality into the music industry and fight against oppression cause fuck that shit!!!” Timing is everything.
Brackets delivered. My heart melted. The playlist was tough, present, and euphoric. It made me want to make shit happen.
In nine days, I leave for Melbourne. By the time you read this, I’ll be gone. I will miss the local music scene terribly. Will I like the music over in Melbs? Shit yeah, but it makes it easier to love and leave Dunedin knowing I can still access a piece of the magic. I know what I’ll be streaming every Tuesday evening from 7-9pm NZ time.
Big big love to Co-Music Editor Reg Norris and all of our 2017 Music Contributors. And massive thanks to the team at Critic.
I wouldn’t have made it through the Critic year without you!
This Magic Moment: Top 3 Music Highlights of 2017
To mark the end of the Critic year, we tracked down our Western Art Music correspondent Ihlara McIndoe and Radio One’s Music Director Erin Broughton to suss out their Top 3 Magic Music Moments of 2017.
1. Adams, Glass, and Reich’s birthday celebrations
With Glass and Reich both turning 80 this year and Adams turning 70, the world seemed to feel obligated to programme their works. This was certainly a highlight for me. I adore these three composers, but rarely hear their works live in concert, largely because their transforming complex rhythms don’t sit well for many traditionalist concert-goers (indeed, when the DSO performed Adams’s Shaker Loops, at the conclusion the person sitting next to me very loudly stated, “Now for some real music” – referring to the next piece in the programme, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major). Despite clearly not being so for others, these three live performances of minimalist works were certainly highlights of the calendar.
2. The SOUNZ Contemporary Award Finalist list
Particularly exciting to see make the list was the University of Otago Mozart Fellow Chris Gendall. It was also great to see the 2016 winner, Salina Fisher, in the top three again. Dominating in a male dominated profession, Salina is an inspiration. I am seriously considering writing her fan mail, and my new technique when subjected to any derogatory comments made by old, white, male musicians is to stop and think, “What Would Salina Do?” My allegiance was torn between Chris and Salina to take out the award. As I write this piece, I am reading tonight’s announcement that Salina has won (again!) and am feeling encouraged by the tremendous success of women in music. Indeed, still to be announced tonight is the APRA Silver Scrolls Award Winner, which we can be 100% sure is going to go to one of New Zealand’s leading female artists, which leads to my final highlight…
3. The Growing Discussion About Women in Music
Although this isn’t an event that belongs solely to 2017, one of my highlights this year in music media has been the growing focus on the role of women in classical music. Not a week has gone by when the Guardian classical music section hasn’t featured a piece on women in music; whether the focus be on the rise of female composers, providing more opportunities for women so as to hear talent rather than as an act of tokenism, or overcoming the ingrained idea that women aren’t ‘assured enough’ to be successful conductors. While the clear sexism in music (at all levels) regularly gets on my nerves, the ongoing discussion is promising, and I hope that it will continue until gender equality and diversity in the music profession is reached.
1. Silver Fucking Scrolls
Wow, I cannot tell you how excited I am that we are hosting the 2017 APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Dunedin. It also makes my heart swell that all of the finalists are incredibly talented women. Each of them have at different times in my life been very very important to me. If I had a Top Ten for this year, all of them would be on it, hands down.
10/10 to Bic Runga, Chelsea Jade, Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding and Lorde. Just ~beautiful~
2. The Ape - I.E. Crazy
IMHO the best music video / song combo of 2017 goes to I.E. Crazy’s ‘The Ape (Plastic Surgery Song)’. It has everything: latex, a toilet seat, a treadmill, and dough. It’s incredibly hard to watch (not dissimilar to the queasy feeling inflicted by Aldous Harding’s ‘Blend’). It’s directed by Literal Fuck and features feminine tropes of mistresses, saints, homemakers and sex objects; the result is a voyeuristic ‘50s housewife x NOS party. The song as a stand-alone is absolutely fantastic.
10/10 for slow-motion close-up shots of butts, cleaning products, cowboy hats and maybe a container of urine??? So slip that skin off in front of me.
3. A.S.L. - The Rothmans
If you haven’t heard ‘Omakau’, do it, right now. Look it up on Bandcamp. Now.
A.S.L. by the Rothmans has been one of my favourite releases of the year. I will forever have the lyric, “when I get back...” stuck in my head. Aside from having a great single and EP, they are also such a joy to see live. Stage presence isn’t traditionally associated with Dunedin bands (there are certainly a couple of exceptions *ahem* Astro Children), but the Rothmans really bring everything.
10/10 screams from me.