Turnbull Mixtape 6: Months in a leaky boat

Screenshot of the Primo interface with album covers A collection of Creative Commons music, created by NZ musicians and archived by the National Library.

Welcome back to another sonically diverse sampling of songs from all corners of this country’s Creative Commons! Perhaps the perfect accompaniment to six months in a leaky boat, or maybe you're just trying to stay afloat in the flood of great NZ music on offer these days? As long as there is wifi or a tape deck, right?

While we have been diligently collecting a bunch of new Creative Commons and other great NZ music released on digital platforms, work is also underway to refresh the way that you can interact with our CC music collection.

Soon we will have a bright and shiny new collection page for all the CC music we now have available in the Library’s collections. Think of it as a one-stop Creative Commons shop where everything is free and open to browse and listen. Primo right? (Yes that’s a lame in-joke)… but the new Primo release coupled with some diligent work from some clever librarians has enabled us to create a new interface for our curated collections. It’s not quite live yet but check out the screenshot above and keep an eye on the collections page in the coming weeks.

And without further ado, here is the latest and greatest 6th Annual Turnbull Creative Commons mixtape, so please download, listen and share alike!

Download MP3 – Turnbull 6: Months in a leaky boat (zip, 99MB)

Download FLAC – Turnbull 6: Months in a leaky boat (zip, 253MB)


Listen to Wet blanket

1. Wet blanket / The Chills

Live at WFMU for Surface Noise with Joe McGasko, 6/12/2017 (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Collection record | Free Music Archive

One of my favourite Chills songs from 1987’s Brave Words album, performed live by Martin Phillipps in 2017. Check out the interview with Joe McGasko, and look out for the Chills doco set to be released sometime in 2019!

I also highly recommend the Free Music Archive as a great source of Creative Commons music from all over the world!

(Sholto Duncan, Web Archivist)

Listen to Feeling / Dying

2. Feeling / Dying / Finn Johansson

Bad Heart, Feeling/Dying (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

This 2-track release from Wellington's self-described "favourite Sad Boy Singer" Finn Johansson is unapologetically sentimental and clearly aware of the fine-line it walks between cheesy pop and heartfelt soul-outpouring. My pick is Feeling/dying which has a minimalist quality that upon first listen brought to mind nostalgia for acts like Smog and Bright Eyes (and all the crushes I had on "Sad Boy Singers" in my early 20s before I found my sad man multi-instrumentalist).

These 2 tracks together demonstrate great skill in songwriting, particularly arranging and composing, which is a nice change from the current trend towards 'all the instruments'/distortion/noise/'more is more' aesthetic that seems pretty pervasive in music lately (or maybe I have just been hanging out at Valhalla too much?). This is nice quiet brunch/flower-arranging/walking-slowly-but-determinedly-into-the-sea music as the chorus repeats "harmful harmful harmful harmful harmful" on "Bad heart". Conversely, Finn can also be found playing with fuzzy-thrashy-psychedelic rockstars Onono when he isn't working on solo material or playing the piano in a paddock in the Wairapapa.

(Nicole Gaston, Online Content Services and Products Developer)

Listen to Antifaxxers

3. Antifaxxers / Anecdata

You do not do (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

Bringing us more sounds of 80s synth-pop era, Anecdata’s album You do not do poses many questions and offers some answers with their slightly cryptic lyrics. “Antifaxxers” gives us a word of warning to be responsible and considerate in a way the 80s were less so with phrases like ‘… only idiots pause and wait.’

(Keith McEwing, Assistant Curator Music)

Listen to Ma

4. Ma / Carb On Carb

For Everest / Carb On Carb (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

We’re straight into Ma with Nicole Gaffney’s emotional vocal and a clean jangling guitar. Her performance combines idiosyncratic vocal phrasing (try singing the word “deliberately” – anyone!) with sparsely applied percussion. The lyric about family uses the vocabulary of regret and has a mystery at its core. If you like this track Carb on Carb has just released their full-length album For ages on Papaiti Records.

(Rhonda Grantham, Collection Management Librarian)

Listen to PCBU

5. PCBU / Human Resource

PCBU (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

PCBU is the title and closing track of this three-song release by Auckland’s Human Resource. It’s the empathetic voice you particularly need to hear when you observe yourself sitting in a salary-pit void, digesting corporate exhortations and management-speak with all the emotional resonance of a Christmas card from your landlord’s property agent.

Instead of flipping your desk, let this track do it for you, and engage with Human Resource (the group) rather than Human Resource (the people at your work). Vocalist Tali Williams has a fantastic ambiguous voice, full of spit – “I want to know we’re on the same page” – “are you a team player?” Then, beyond a slapback echo-treated guitar (Liam Kiely, I want to see your pedalboard) and clean bass comes the cathartic thump and snarl of a dirty chorus with a horror-movie theramin melody vibe. There’s an awesome (increasingly fuzzy) bassline by Stephen Parry that sounds a little bit James Chance and the Contortions, but this is not someone else’s no-wave, this is firmly a New Zealand voice that echoes all the good bits of the Gordons and snotty early Die!Die!Die! output. Drums build, courtesy of Richard Dugdale, and then the whole thing falls over in fittingly messy fashion.

The engineering on this release is also sonically impressive – more please.

(Emerson Vandy, Service Manager)

Listen to Look here brother

6. Look here brother / Cody Matthews

selFHeal (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

Cody Matthews makes experimental music in Christchurch: further information is difficult to glean online, but the largely sample-based music on this EP speaks for itself. The track 'Look here brother' nicely scratches up Frank Zappa's 70s soul satire 'Cosmic Debris', while 'Young' layers verbal exclamations with spooky reverbed instruments. And - for a change of approach - 'Slack Band Ghoul' dishes some minor-key indie balladry with its emotive vocal, perhaps from Cody himself?

(Michael Brown, Curator Music)

Listen to Sweatshop

7. Sweatshop / Disasteradio

Sweatshop (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

For the past 5 years or so, you’d be more likely to see Luke Rowell marshalling Wellington dancefloors in the guise of his awesome retro-new wave alter-ego Eyeliner. Last year saw the welcome return of Disasteradio with a brand new album: Sweatshop.

All the tracks on Sweatshop are brilliant, so it’s hard to pick just one, but I’ve gone with the title track, just because it includes everything that makes Disasteradio such a party favourite: nostalgic 80s synths, great vocal melodies and big rocking beats.

(Matt Steindl, Research Librarian Music)

Listen to Last song on (Movement I)

8. Last song on (Movement I) / Alphabethead

Platypusaux (2004), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

Alphabethead is a testament to the amazing creativity achievable from turntabling and sampling. Also known for his rich sonic textures behind the All Seeing Hand, ‘Last Song On (Movement I)’ shows off Alphabethead in a solo setting, showcasing his wide musical tastes and ability to make the most of his chosen material in really playful ways.

The way this track transitions from the glitchy opening (making you double check your audio equipment) into a fully-fledged groove, really showcases the potential of the medium.

(Glen Downie, Library Assistant)

Listen to Tunnel vision ft Quest

9. Tunnel vision ft Quest / Truth

Devil’s game (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

Spacious dubstep for the wee hours, with dark swooning strings combined with peppy drum'n'bass beats. This recent EP release from the prolific New Zealand duo Truth (Andre Fernandez and Tristan Roake), based in Los Angeles, is as good a place as any to start exploring their oeuvre.

'Smoke' is also a highlight with sparkling percussion and harp (?) textures, while vocalist Alicia Kiah plaintively wonders "what are you trying to prove?".

If their work takes your fancy, there are several Truth long players to check out, including the highly recommended Wilderness of Mirrors.

(Michael Brown, Curator Music)

Listen to Do you wanna suit?

10. Do you wanna suit? / bit_jaxxx

Tape A: Day Parks - 4x4_Danse_.bit (2018), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

The opening track from the first—the Party Vibes Set—of three collections from the Tape series, “Do you wana buy a suit” sets you in the relaxed mood for what is to follow. NZ born musician now living in Oz, Bit Jax creates for us a steady paced mix of sampled vaporwave sounds and phrases over a looped house groove.

(Keith McEwing, Assistant Curator Music)

Listen to What’s the plan?

11. What’s the plan? / Dharma Police

It only ends once (2017), (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Collection record | Bandcamp

Dharma Police is one of several pseudonyms taken on by Auckland producer Dan Satherley, Anecdata which also features on this mixtape is another.

I was initially hooked in by the 80s synth-pop vibe that Satherley is known for… but when I discovered it was lyrically focussed around the TV series lost I just had to dive in!

I couldn’t tell you how clever the lyrics are or how well they relate to the series (I only watched the first season) but the production is great and it’s a very catchy album.

Track 2 is my pick, which also seems appropriate as that’s about as far through Lost as I got! I wonder if the closing track is as polarizing as the shows grand finale seems to have been…

(Sholto Duncan, Web Archivist)

By Sholto Duncan

Sholto is a Web Archivist, responsible for locating and collecting digital music and other music-related digital media.

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