Altmusic Presents: BILL ORCUTT, WHITE SAUCER, BRUCE RUSSELL. Saturday 22 May, 2010



Bill Orcutt emerged as one of the most influential guitar players of the 1990s, alongside drummer Adris Hoyos in the seminal Miami-based free rock band, Harry Pussy, their half-decade existence throwing up a boutique of caustic masterpieces alongside equally luminary cohorts on labels including Chocolate Monk (Richard Youngs, Incapacitants, Bruce Russell) and Siltbreeze (Charalambides, Guided By Voices, The Shadow Ring), but their volatile, calamitous sound has remained their matchless own.

Orcutt’s unanticipated return with the 2009 self-released 7", ‘High Waisted’ and his late-2009 LP, ‘A New Way To Pay Old Debts’, was an exhilarating reincarnation of the rambunctious automatism and hair-trigger ferocity that pervaded Harry Pussy’s earlier, combustible missives. In Mimaroglu’s words, the latter recording ‘let loose a pan-trajectorial spray of freedom-inflected guitar histrionics, captured gloriously in a room-tone / blown-amp fidelity’. Its un-building of a noise-blues vernacular invoked the equally insubordinate spirits of the late Derek Bailey and John Fahey, and the delta bros, Fred McDowell and Joseph Spence, and was a universal, underground heir of album of the year, appearing on The Wire magazine’s Rewind list next to Oneohtrix Point Never and Broadcast. 

Orcutt's plucked lacerations, spooky boogie, and ballistic extraterrestrial blues, bordered by the severe candour of his own ulterior, vocal utterances makes for an unsettling but downright melodious sound that repudiates mere descent into noise-guitar discord, while serving as a reminder to a whole contemporary pantheon of guitarists of how it should be done.

Radical √©minence grise of the New Zealand experimental underground, Stella Corkey and Alan Holt’s White Saucer takes disorderly cues from what has been described as the triple threat freedoms of free jazz, 20th century avant-garde and psychedelic, improvised rock music. Their work has appeared on Freedom-From (Hair Police, Sightings, Harry Pussy, Jackie O, Thurston Moore), Drunken Fish (Bardo Pond, Roy Montgomery, Lee Ranaldo) and their own Pink Air, while Corkery has operated both solo as Sweetcakes and Arrows, and in collaborative shapes in Siltbreeze and Xpressway groups such as Queen Meanie Puss with Rachel Shearer and Hot Buttered Soul with Roddy Pain (Snapper, Evil). The multi instrumental duo slip between grubby and warbled extraterrestrial psych sorties to buzzed out Kosmische retreats. This is their first ever show in Christchurch.

Bruce Russell is an artist, composer and writer based in Christchurch, and is the founder of seminal labels, Xpressway and Corpus Hermeticum. His work has appeared on a panoply of labels, including Smalltown Supersound, Ecstatic Yod, Spirit of Orr, Siltbreeze and Helicopter. His bands, The Dead C and A Handful of Dust have appeared on an equally formidable array of imprints. Russell has recorded with the likes of AMM’s Eddie Prevost, Mattin, John Wiese, RLW, Tetuzi Akiyama and Birchville Cat Motel, and has performed alongside a similar host of like minded, but diverse artists. 

Established in 2001 and now organized by committees in every major city in New Zealand under the Audio Foundation, Altmusic is an ongoing series of audio events, regularly bringing a vital injection of contemporary and experimental music from around the world to New Zealand. This year, the programme continues with each city curating its own event and touring this around NZ.