For European sensibilities at least, New Zealand is the most European country in the Pacific region. Its music scenes are extraordinarily well informed, yet small and well-connected amongst each other. Clubs remain a rarity: "Two or three each in Wellington and Auckland, and one more in Christchurch", says Hans Nieswandt. "Everyone knows everyone, and there's a lot of interaction. All the same, all the musicians there have a very clear profile." He names two main influences on club music there, which he considers decisive: on the one hand, funk in the vein of Prince and George Clinton, as represented by the immigrant Recloose and which can safely be considered responsible for the high density of large and well-versed live bands. The second main pillar: since the visit of Bob Marley's "Babylon By Bus" tour, reggae has become the soundtrack, and not just for young Maoris. But minimal techno and electro/new wave are also well received and produced here. We will be guided through the evening by the radio presenter and DJ Nick Dwyer, a walking encyclopaedia of music from New Zealand and around the globe.
While many synthesizer bands swear by the oldest and most expensive kit possible, Luke Rowel alias Disasteradio opted for the complete opposite: he uses the latest and cheapest equipment. And although the roots of his music are to be found in the days when the ansaphone was the best thing since sliced bread – the new wave of the glittering vocoder period – he is equally pragmatic about how he distributes his music. Three free-to-download albums have led to more than 80 performances in New Zealand and overseas.
Simon Flower began to make electronic music when the available equipment was still made up of more or less synchronised analogue machines. Today, he works with the globally popular software Reason but still remains true to a straight-up, shuffling sound influenced by early Detroit techno and the technodub of Basic Channel, which he once discovered for himself as a DJ. His clubtracks are now published not just by the New Zealand label Curl Curl, but also by Euro-labels such as Poker Flat and Compost Black Label.
As a radio DJ, Nick Dwyer is not just a motor of the New Zealand scene, he's also a globally active Worldtronics festival on two legs: "Dynamo and Brainbox", is how the "Sunday Star Times" of his homeland described him, a workaholic, who learned Japanese as a child so that he could use a Japanese Nintendo console, who can still neither drive a car nor cook but soaks up information like a sponge. He travelled the world for the TV show "Making Tracks", getting local musicians to perform New Zealand hits. It's material that's certain to make its way into his DJ set.
When Nick Dwyer speaks of this "phenomenal NZ live thing", he's also talking about the eight-man ensemble led by Matthew Chicoine alias Recloose. The nomadic lifestyle of the US-born musician began in Detroit with the label Planet E, then went on to the Innerzone Orchestra of his idol and discoverer, the technocrat Carl Craig. Meanwhile Recloose has relocated to New Zealand and developed his music in the direction of P-Funk. His latest album "Perfect Timing" was released this year on the Berlin label Sonar Kollektiv.
Lineup: Hans Nieswandt musician, DJ and author www.hansnieswandt.de