v/a - Le Jazz Non: A Compilation of Nineties NZ Noise

Sometimes, a compilation is the perfect way to reign in a wide, disparate group of artists whose individual releases are scarce and/or obscure. When it works, a great compilation brings its participants out from the shadows and frames them as a "scene" of some sort with sympathetic reverberations across its tracks. Listeners can then refer to it as a benchmark for all related music. "Le Jazz Non" is such a compilation. Put together by Bruce Russell on his remarkable Corpus Hermeticum label in 1996, it's hard to imagine a more fitting object to introduce the New Zealand free noise and drone micro-scene to the world. 

"Le Jazz Non" gathered previously little-known acts such as Thela (aka Rosy Parlane, Dion Workman, and Dean Roberts, all of whom now have productive solo careers), Gate (the extra-Dead C. "band" of Michael Morley), Rain and Doramaar (both featuring members of Flies Inside the Sun), Omit (whose hermetic nightmarescapes we've posted here on Bleak Bliss recently), Surface of the Earth (makers of a self-titled CD that remains the definitive New Zealand drone album, and is still available from Utech. Stop whatever you're doing and buy it now), RST (drone guitarist who would go on to make lovely shimmer for Ecstatic Peace, Last Visible Dog, and Utech), Witcyst (utterly baffling mail-art trash noise), A Handful of Dust (aka Mr. Russell making feedback-laced anti-music with Alastair Galbraith), Lame & Sorry (aka Galbraith with Shayne Carter of Straitjacket Fits), improv/rock heroes (and sometime Gate backing band) Sandoz Lab Technicians, and the still-obscure Empirical, of whom this track is one of the only extant documents. 

Don't rush through this album and form an opinion right away. Spin it a few times. Let its molecules disperse through the air in your home. Live with it for awhile. Let the atmosphere sink in and steadily rewire all of your synapses.

v/a - Le Jazz Non: A Compilation of Nineties NZ Noise


Anonymous,  26 April 2014 at 17:10  

One of the most comprehensive samplers that I have heard in a while. With this and your previous posts you've put NZ on my musical map.

Anonymous,  26 April 2014 at 18:51  

We love NZ noise, it's our choice!

Anonymous,  27 April 2014 at 11:51  

Empirical did have a lathe on Crawlspace Record, although may be rather difficult to track down!

Mrs. Inside 27 April 2014 at 15:34  

Empirical had a 3"CDR on PseudoArcana, then that lathe and this track. That's it! Part of the lathe was reissued on the "Fit for Kings 2" compilation CD. Marcel Bear/Empirical, also made a lathe 7" with Dion Workman and Dean Roberts (of Thela) and RST, then he played on a Rosy Parlane album for Touch. But he remains the most obscure artist on this comp.

If anyone has a collection of Crawlspace or other NZ freenoise/drone lathes that they wish to digitize and share, please get in touch! I have a feeling that very little of that stuff left New Zealand. Mr Inside has a few. We'll digitize them someday.

lizard johnny jewel,  28 April 2014 at 10:46  

Thanks! Am now letting some of the many Omit posts wash over me... then back to Le Jazz Non to investigate others. I think I really liked RST...

Have long had a special place in my heart for Alastair Galbraith's work from the turn of the century.. mostly the stuff released by emperor jones -- Cry, Long Wires -- but didn't really know anything about the NZ scene he was part of.

So, thanks again.

Anonymous,  29 April 2014 at 16:13