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Zombies on the horizon opens

Experimental music performances for the Turnbull Gallery exhibition Zombies on the horizon .

Experimental music in Aotearoa

In 1967, when New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn expressed his apprehension about the ‘zombie on the horizon’, he was referring specifically to the introduction of electronic music into our compositional landscape. What Lilburn may or may not have considered was that the rise of electronic music was part of an overall movement towards musical innovation that has since become a significant presence. Over the past 50 years, Lilburn’s lone zombie has multiplied into a sprawling horde that, for better or worse, has come to be known as experimental music.

Aotearoa celebrates itself as nation of pioneers, adventurers, inventors and explorers, and in the world of music it is no different: we have a lineage of sound explorers, instrument inventors, sonic adventurers and audio pioneers who have ventured beyond the confines of musical form and genre to explore what happens when you break the rules. Whether it’s Douglas Lilburn playing farm equipment in a barn in Wiltshire or the Orchestra of Spheres wailing on a biscuit-tin banjo, Zombies on the horizon explores the rich culture of experimental music in Aotearoa, showcasing many of the seldom-heard musical taonga held in the Alexander Turnbull Library.

ZOmbies on the horizon