Thursday, July 20, 2006
Lost for Words
This week I'm launching a new weekly feature on Counting the Beat. Lost for Words will be a regular showcase for great kiwi instrumentals. Each week I will play one or two songs san vocals.
The series was inspired by a new album I picked up by a band called Salon Kingsadore. Once I had struck on this idea the immediate question I had to ask myself was how to define an instrumental. On the surface it seems quite simple, a piece of music that doesn't feature voice. But the whole electronic / dance music thang muddies the water. Sure it might not feature vocals but is the music made by Pitch Black or Concord Dawn what you think of as an instrumental. (Come to think of it some of that music doesn't even feature instruments, unless you're going to count a laptop.)
If we look back a bit it gets easier. Many early kiwi rock acts in the 1960s aped their overseas counterparts such as the Stone etc and some also picked up on huge instrumental acts like The Shadows or the American surf guitar sound of Dick Dale, Link Wray and so on. In New Zealand the biggest instrumental act was Peter Posa, his most famous tune - White Rabbit. He drew on the surf guitar sound but wasn't quite so drenched in reverb and was a mighty fine picker. It is with Peter that I will start the Lost for Words series because he was the master. He is still around playing gospel and in fact he put out an album a couple of years back.
The instrumental tradition is still going strong in New Zealand and much of the best is still in a surf guitar vein (The Counting the Beat podcast that you can link to on the right is a kiwi surf guitar special). Check out tracks by The Hollow Grinders.
Anyway, Lost For Words will feature the best in kiwi instrumentals over the next few weeks. I would love to hear any suggestions you have, click on comments below.