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various-time to go: the southern psychedelic moment 1981-86 cd (flying nun)

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various: time to go: the southern psychedelic moment 1981-86

"[In the early ’80s] Flying Nun, just quietly, had a bit of an unexpected problem: success. In fact for a while there, as long as you kept turning over rocks, you’d find more and more great bands making unusual sounds. These were sounds which sometimes seemed to deliberately give the lyrical fingers (always two) to the straight world—or which other times seemed to be designed to totally derange your senses and fuck you up. “Taking off from the blank slate of punk’s year zero, adding-in a massive dose of disrespect for authority born out of the contemporary and very urgent struggle for social justice, and looking forward to a new New Zealand that was not going to be all about white bread and white men playing rugby—the new music dug deep into its own independent and international tradition, and got very widely, very weirdly, and very seriously psychedelic. “I recall an interview with Hamish Kilgour from the early ’80s where he talked about how The Clean were trying to go back to the experiments of the first psychedelic era, 1965-67, and carry them forward in the present. In this he was reflecting his advantage as a slightly older participant in the creative hurricane which was then engulfing the pop music field across the western world. And also in this he was accompanied by members of several other key groups active in the Christchurch scene, such as The Gordons, The Builders, The Pin Group, Playthings and Victor Dimisich Band, as well as that transplanted southerner Chris Knox. All these people were of an age and disposition to make use of the best of the ’60s in the brave new world of independent labels, social upheaval, stronger pot and general post-punk license. “And this spread like a nasty rash on the white-bread body politic, before anyone thought to take the advice of Life in the Fridge Exists and ‘check the children.’ It was especially, though not exclusively, true that in the South Island music on and around the nascent Flying Nun label was stylistically, lyrically and / or musicologically psychedelic. And the predominant sense in which this seemed to be meant—consciously or not—was that it used derangement of the senses as a metaphor for a cultural standpoint that was opposed to the dominant culture. This went as much for the lyrics of the allegedly neanderthal Stones as for the musical touchstones of the decidedly straighter Sneaky Feelings, the guitar pyrotechnics of those dangerously anti-social brawlers in Scorched Earth Policy and the Pink Floydian structural experiments of the loudest band in the land, self-proclaimed ‘sheet-metallers’ The Gordons. “Hence my selection of tracks for this compilation: it isn’t a ‘greatest hits’ or a ‘best of’ or even a ‘most obscure.’ It’s a collection of tracks that depict a reality that was obvious at the time but has been rather lost to subsequent history (and also lost to that baby-wipe of history: music journalism).” —Bruce Russell


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