The Ziggy Stardust Band

Sunday, March 16th, 2014 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

The title of this album (and band name) will be very familiar… but this is not the David Bowie creation! The Ziggy Stardust Band is the brainchild of Errol Barker (former cycle racing sensation) of Christchurch, and he recorded a number of albums under this guise. In the mid-1980s, Barker arrived at the doors of Nightshift Studios, and asked to record some music there. The studio’s engineer Arnold van Bussell agreed, and Barker returned with his drum machine, and a pre-recorded cassette of his guitar playing. After recording his vocal tracks, and some studio trickery (including what van Bussell called outrageous effects), the product was completed.

ZiggyStardustAlbum

And what does the Ziggy Stardust band album sound like? With song titles like Monstrocities, Human Boy and Schizophrenic Hotel, you might expect a sci-fi theme to be running through the record. To my surprise, the album has a Gothic Rock sound, with the strong, clinical backbeat of a drum machine. Barker’s free-form, reverbed guitar sounds ricochet off the space within the songs, and often have a siren-like effect – possibly due to van Bussell’s treatments. The vocals are half-spoken and mannered, more in the vein of Nick Cave than David Bowie, and this is used to great effect on Schizophrenic Hotel, which reworks the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. Most interesting are the instrumental tracks, which are soundscapes that focus on individual sounds rather than melodic hooks.

There is very little information on Barker and his musical creations, and after recording as the Ziggy Stardust band he dropped off the musical radar. According to van Bussel, Errol Barker still lives in Christchurch, and is still making interesting guitar sounds.

Thanks to Ian Chapman and Arnold van Bussel for information.

Blog post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian, Music and Audio-Visual

Hocken Collections in the news!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Well actually not so much the Hocken in the news but the work of some of the wonderful researchers who use the Hocken Collections.

Firstly Professor Judy Bennett of the Otago History Department and Tim Bayliss-Smith of St John’s College Cambridge have published a very readable book based on the diary of William Crossan, which is held here at the Hocken. Crossan was a copra trader in the Solomon Islands in 1885-6. Read about it in the Otago Bulletin. And you can download and read the book from the Australian University E-Press too.

Next two stories on our own staff member Dr Ali Clarke, Ali works for the Hocken part-time as a Reference Assistant, and is also an historian with three monographs and several journal articles and book chapters to her name.

We are very pleased that Ali has been appointed to research and write the University’s history in time for the sesquicentennial celebrations in 2019. Read all about it in the Otago Bulletin and the Otago Daily Times

And don’t forget to check out Ali’s research blog University of Otago 1869-2019 – wiritng a history.

And there is also Dr Jenny Burchell who has been researching the history of the City Choir Dunedin for a book to be published next year. See the story in the Otago Daily Times.

Well done everyone!

 

 

The Chills and Shane Cotton – Somewhere Beautiful

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Post prepared by Amanda Mills – Music/AV Liaison Librarian, Hocken Collections

Somewhere Beautiful by The Chills and Shane Cotton

New Zealand Music Month has finished yet again! While overall Hocken Collections had a quiet month, music wise, this year we played a significant part in the launch of The Chills new live album Somewhere Beautiful, held on May 31st. The recording is not your typical album release. A triple LP set in a double gatefold cover (45rpm speed, on heavy 200gram vinyl); the live album is housed in a 24” portfolio box, with original diptych prints by renowned artist Shane Cotton. Cotton’s artwork for the package is called Rolling Moon (after The Chills’ song), and the prints are mixed media, with metal foil and additional materials. Each print is unique, with different lyrics from Somewhere Beautiful silk screened onto the images. These will be collectors’ items – only 150 have been produced, and are a wonderful example of how art and music interweave, especially as Martin Phillipps’ (The Chills lead singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter) lyrics’ are vivid with imagery, and ripe for interpretation.

 

Rolling Moon by Shane Cotton

The launch for Somewhere Beautiful was a gathering to celebrate both the work of Martin Phillipps and The Chills, and Shane Cotton, and this extraordinary collaboration.  All were in attendance (including Chills members Erica Stichbury, Oli Wilson, James Dickson, and Todd Knudson), and both Phillipps and Cotton spoke about the work. Phillipps also played a solo four song set where he performed ‘Pink Frost’, ‘Male Monster From the Id’, ‘House with A Hundred Rooms’, and new song ‘Molten Gold’ to an appreciative crowd.

Display of Chills material in the Hocken Foyer

Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell and I also collaborated with Phillipps and his manager Scott Muir to produce a postcard to commemorate the event, using an iconic piece from Phillipps’ collection. We were lucky to be able to use the leather jacket, immortalised in The Chills’ song ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’ for the postcard image. We felt very fortunate to be included in such a wonderful event!

 

Music at Hocken

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

It’s New Zealand Music Month, and a good time to (re)introduce the Hocken recorded music collection! We currently have over 16,000 items in various formats (vinyl, CD, 78rpm discs and cassettes), and are increasing our collection holdings constantly. We collect all genres of New Zealand music (with special emphasis on Otago and Southland recordings), and acquire major current releases, as well as all releases and re-releases from the re-born Flying Nun label.
CD stacks at the Hocken
We don’t only collect current music on CD. While CDs still dominate as a physical format, the not-so-humble vinyl LP and 7” disc have made a recent resurgence. A number of major New Zealand releases have been issued on vinyl, including Crowded House’s Intriguer, Flight of the Conchords’ I Told You I Was Freaky, the upcoming Ladyhawke album Anxiety, and The Veils Sun Gangs. Vinyl releases from local artists such as Opposite Sex, The Aesthetics, The Futurians, and Onanon have also been acquired for Hocken’s collection, as have vinyl re-releases by The Dead C, The Bats and the 3Ds. The recent boutique (400 copies only) Toy Love album Live at the Gluepot, was a vinyl only release, available only from Real Groovy on International Record Store Day (http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home). Considering the band’s Dunedin roots (they started as The Enemy), it was vital we obtained a copy (which we did)! The album sold out on the day, and is now out-of-print, and in-demand. More details can be found here http://www.toylove.co.nz
Parlophone 78rpm disc label from 1927

Much of Hocken’s music is rare. The earliest recording held is a 78rpm disc of Wellington baritone John Prouse singing ‘The Maid of Morven’, recorded in London in 1905. We hold the first New Zealand recordings – concert performances of Ana Hato and Deane Waretini from 1927. Early Flying Nun releases are also rare (and valuable), as many have never been re-issued, and are viewed enthusiastically by international and local collectors. We are fortunate to hold such an extensive collection of these rarities, and we invite you to come and (re)discover our music. More information on Hocken’s music collections can be found here http://library.otago.ac.nz/hocken/music.html.

Blog post prepared by Amanda Mills, Liaison Librarian – Music and AV

All Hail! Zealandia!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Zealandia was a familiar symbol to New Zealanders of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Akin to Great Britain’s Britannia and America’s Columbia, she personified New Zealand in poetry, song, and political cartoons, and even appeared on postage stamps and household goods. Her statue surmounts the Boer War memorial at Palmerston.


The depiction of Zealandia on the cover of the song ‘All Hail! Zealandia!’ emphasises the colony’s youth and agricultural wealth (which apparently extended to the production of pineapples!). She carries the United Tribes flag, selected as New Zealand’s first official ensign in 1834. Replaced by the Union Flag in 1840, it became an important symbol of Māori independence and resistance to Crown-perpetuated injustice. It also retained some currency as a patriotic symbol, appearing on this sheet music more than forty years after it fell from official use.


The first verse of the song proclaims:

All hail! Zealandia!

Queen of the Southern Isles

On whose bright destiny

Benignant Nature smiles

Louder than cannon’s roar

Echo from shore to shore

All hail! Zealandia!

Zealandia! All hail!


The music was composed by Robert Peel Crosbie, a Railways Department employee and enthusiastic amateur musician from Christchurch. Francis Hopkins Valpy is sometimes credited with the words, but Crosbie claimed to have written them with Valpy’s assistance. The first performance took place at Lyttelton in 1871 or 1872, several years before the composition of ‘God Defend New Zealand’. This makes ‘All Hail! Zealandia!’ one of New Zealand’s earliest national songs.


An alternative setting by Dunedin music teacher Frederick Leech was published in 1874, and widely performed during the following 20 or 30 years. Crosbie’s original but less known version was eventually published in 1885 with a dedication to former premier Sir Julius Vogel. A reviewer at the time described the work as a stirring song of ‘eminently national type’ and suggested that it should become immensely popular.


The piece was ‘uncommonly well printed’ by the Lyttelton Times Company, although there is a spelling mistake on the cover for those who care to look for it!


All Hail! Zealandia! Words and music by R.P. Crosbie

Christchurch: Lyttelton Times (printers), [1885].


David Murray, Assistant Archivist, Hocken Collections.

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