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 The Mantarays

Garden of Light

(Rough Peel Records)

4 stars

The Mantarays - Garden of LightCol­lect­ively speak­ing, The Mantarays is a ven­ture between long-serving and well-respec­ted Wel­ling­ton musi­cians Nigel Pat­ter­son (organ), Anthony Don­ald­son (drums) and Daniel Beban (gui­tar). Known, respect­ively, for play­ing in reggae/funk, jazz and exper­i­ment­al music ensembles, in this con­fig­ur­a­tion they fold togeth­er New Orleans funk, tra­di­tion­al Lat­in rhythms and melod­ies, and psy­che­del­ic Amer­ic­an soul of the late 1960s.

Ren­der­ing their inter­sec­tion in cine­mat­ic instru­ment­al forms, on Garden of Light they guide the listen­er on a sur­real jour­ney though exot­ica-tinged arrange­ments, surf-rock gui­tar riffs, nat­ur­al­ist­ic field record­ings and celes­ti­al jazz structures.

All won­der­ful musi­cians in their own right, The Mantarays have, in Garden of Light, cre­ated a cap­tiv­at­ing col­lect­ive mind-meld between play­ers: part to part, song to song, the over­all move­ment is per­fectly poised. Avail­able in vinyl, CD and MP3 formats, Garden of Light is an album to treasure.


Thomas Oliver

Beneath the Weissenborn

(Thomas Oliv­er Music)

4 stars

Stebbing_2012_FlexiPaks_Spec_BookletFor those unfa­mil­i­ar with the name, Weis­sen­born is a brand of lap slide gui­tar man­u­fac­tured in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s. Bey­ond that, in con­tem­por­ary times it is also a short­hand term for the most com­mon form of lap slide guitar.

Give the remark­able har­mon­ic pos­sib­il­it­ies of this instru­ment, it is an inter­est­ing tool that Wellington’s Thomas Oliv­er has used to cre­ate his new solo album, Beneath the Weis­sen­born.

Step­ping away from the sta­di­um-sized blues rock of his band pro­ject, The Thomas Oliv­er Band, Oliv­er hones in, craft­ing detailed, emo­tion­ally express­ive com­pos­i­tions whose lap slide notes and chords become tan­gible res­on­ant feelings.

While there is a good chance you’ve prob­ably already heard his mer­cur­i­al rearrange­ment of the Jur­as­sic Park theme song (200,000 or so hits on You­Tube), the oth­er nine songs on Beneath the Weis­sen­born flick­er and twist with equally reflect­ive flames. Just don’t stare into the fire for too long; you might lose your­self gaz­ing into its light.


Octo­ber Live Music Recommendations

On Thursday 3 Octo­ber, esteemed Auck­land singer/songwriter Tama Waipara plays at Pup­pies. One day later, Brit­ish punk legends UK Subs play San Fran­cisco Bath House as part of their final world tour. The same night, acclaimed Auck­land hip hop artist Dav­id Dal­las plays at Bodega. On Fri­day 11 Octo­ber, Cov­er Gurls and A Low Hum present Mousek­teers at Pup­pies. On Sat­urday 12 Octo­ber, The Ten Ten­ors bring their Mum’s the Word show to St James Theatre, per­form­ing all of the most reques­ted songs from their cata­logue. On Sunday 20 Octo­ber, An Even­ing at the Opera intro­duces you to the world of opera at Te Papa. Shortly after, on Tues­day 22 Octo­ber at the Opera House, acclaimed jazz musi­cian Hank Mar­vin (of Cliff Richard’s The Shad­ows) and his band give us a primer on the roots of gypsy jazz music. The same night, Amer­ic­an noise rock duo Light­ing Bolt play the second of two con­sec­ut­ive shows at Puppies.


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