The wait is finally over and Left Ear’s compilation of music from Australia and New Zealand – made in a “unique” time and space in the 1970s and 1980s – is finally here…and these Antipodean Anomalies sound like nothing else.
Compiled by Left Ear Record’s own Chris Bonato and Umut Turkeri, tracks such as Rainbow Generator’s City Of The Sun is a psychedelic walkabout and is anchored by Balearic ramblings about the beach – but it is the more traditional sounding instrumentation and melodies that elevate this beyond mere new-wave, post-punk or leftfield music.
The duo at Left Ear Records explain how these lesser-known artists have constructed such culturally fused and unique visions in their compositions:
“For musicians inhabiting the Antipodean countries of Australia and New Zealand during the 70’s and 80’s, it was a geographically and culturally isolating environment. Boutique shops, community radio and mail order exchanges championed independent and contemporary music from across the globe. It was, however, this isolation that caused a number of small community-focused scenes to evolve, creating their own unique interpretation and reappropriation of outside influences. Through both these scenes and government initiatives, a vast amount of music emerged on self-released and independent labels.
“Yet, even among small scenes that were creating unique sounds, a number of artists seemed to be making music that was neither here nor there, often meshing together numerous genres and influences to create anomalous sounds.
“Artists like Olev Muska along with Ingrid Slamer meshed traditional folk songs of their Estonian heritage with cutting edge computer technology. Ngahiwi Apanui used his native language of Te Reo and a “cheap drum machine” to create a pulsating tale that highlights the creation of Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand); while the Free Radicals would sing through PVC pipes to construct their vision of post-apocalyptic tribal music. Sydney’s Nic Lyon used his classical training to craft a distinctive gem which matched eastern and African influenced instruments with synchopated drum machines, while artists like Delaney Venn and Toy Division managed to challenge their post-punk sensibilities by blending both dub and atmospheric sounds respectively.”
Once again Left Ear have shown their expert curation and diversity, although looking closer to their Melbourne home than with recent releases – having reissued Kingsley Bucknor’s electro-disco from Nigeria, undiscovered synth legend Omer Coleman (also Starship Commander Woo Woo), fellow U.S countrymen Workdub and their brand of dub experiments, Shahara-Ja’s soulful electro, Yoruba Singers of Guyana, the spaced out jazz-funk of Thesda, the rapso of Brother Resistance, Minoru Hoodoo Fushimi’s blend of Japanese tradition and electro-funk, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Andre Tanker.
Left Ear have also reissued Antipodean artists, including Peter Westheimer and Leong Lau, the latter just receiving a much needed repress. The documentary below provides a window into Lau’s world. You can also click here: for more anomalies from Australia and New Zealand.