issue 12 :: July 2007

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REVIEW: Nigel Bunn

"Index" CD [Emperor Jones]

reviewed by Josh Ronsen

New Zealander Bunn’s only full length record is a murky, mysterious affair filled with reverb-drenched strings, dark drones, indecipherable voices and lo-fi noise. The second track, “Goodbye God Baby Goodbye,” appeared on the compilation Killing Capitalism with Kindness, and sounds like either the ramblings of a mental patient or a robot trying to figure out English from only half a Rod McKuen LP buried in the New Zealand sand. Underneath the filtered voice, a quiet sped-up voice repeats every word. The bloops and bleeps, I presume from an analog synthesizer manipulated on tape, reminds me of late 1950s tape experiments, successful experiments. This is soundtrack to the most surreal film you can think of, each piece a dusty room in dark, old house.
“Stonato the evocation ofa strange love” [sic.] plays out a haunting melody and drones with an analog synthesizer set to a synthetic organ sound. Slides between notes impart a Middle-Eastern feel. Again, this could be the theme to a cult ritual from a 1970’s era Dr. Who (and perhaps better than what the BBC could crank out). The use of various keyboards and string instruments (electric guitars and ?), tape speed and echo effects give the sense of the variety of music from the noise/cassette culture in the 1980s. Not quite songs, but most pieces have a chord, a melody, a motive on the guitar that suggests elements from song structures. It is interesting, hazy, almost precious, warm and entrancing.


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Josh Ronsen
joshronsen (ate) yahoo (dote) com
2001 Brentwood
Austin, Texas 78757 USA