13 Jan 2010

radio cegeste presents Radio d'Oiseaux at Chicks Hotel, port chalmers

Newcastle-based organisational and musical force Chris Hearn, aka Alps, briefly alighting at None Studios in Dunedin while on his New Zealand tour with Ray Raposa, aka Castanets, from Portland, Oregon, pleasantly coincided his stay with my arrival in the city. As it eventuated, no local support act had been organised for these fine gentlemen's southernmost NZ gig. Consequently, discussions in the None kitchen resulted in Radio Cegeste being invited to support Alps and Castanets in a certain esteemed experimental music venue at a nearby charming port, the very next evening (ie. "your name is on the poster"). Rather than baulking at this short notice thrust into the limelight (such as it was, on a Wednesday in Port Chalmers), I very sensibly recognised an opportunity to experiment with the public presentation of the slowly evolving Radio d’Oiseaux project, and, as you can see from these photos by Markus Gradwohl, verily jumped at the chance.

Sound sources this time were field recordings of birds played through mini FM transmitter, Radio New Zealand vinyl pressings of birdsongs played on a portable record player, 78s, music box and related sonic ephemera (such as one of those musical cards, emitting the song of a New Zealand native bird - the Saddleback - via an activation of an embedded digital chip/music box, every time it was opened).

You can't see them too well here, but there was also a live visual element, involving a slowly diminishing stack of c. 1960s Forest and Bird magazine covers, propped in front of a static video camera routed through the in-house projector, and progressively removed one by one during the performance.

My one regret concerning the evening, apart from its various minor equipment failures, was that Ray's set, vulnerable, desolate, delicate and blacky humorous at turns as it was, had included, as was evidently his habit, a cover of everyone's favourite pop song about death, Blue Oyster Cult's (Don't Fear) The Reaper, in every NZ show except this one. Damn!

more photos of the event at Markus' site, noise redux, are viewable here

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