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COLLABORATION: “Rearrangements with Samin Son and Dick Whyte” (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Pyramid Club Opening Night (2014)

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Samin Son on the phone (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Fit, Strong Confident (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Dick Whyte - Rearrangement #1 (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Samin Son - Rearrangement #2 (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Samin Son - Rearrangement #3 (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Dick Whyte - Rearrangement #4 (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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Dick Whyte and Samin Son - Rearrangement #5 (Pyramid Club, 2014)

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“The ideas need not be complex. Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple. Successful ideas generally have the appearance of simplicity because they seem inevitable.” (Sol LeWitt, Paragraphs On Conceptual Art)

While at the grand opening of Wellington’s newest underground art and music venue The Pyramid Club, Samin Son and myself took some time out to create a few temporary sculptures upstairs, on our way to the toilets. A bunch of great bands played (Ducklingmonster, AudioTears, Warwick and the Wankers, Ooonaverse) and a damn good night was had by all. With so many venues closing in Wellington at the moment, this is exactly what we needed. Check it out people – and make sure to support future Pyramid Club events! See more rearrangements.

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NEW RELEASE: Bent Folk 7″ (Epic Sweep Records, 2013)

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bent folk 7 inch epic sweep

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At the end of last year The Bent Folk, my new band featuring Helen O’Rourke (drums) and Rupert Hunter (guitar) released our first 7″ through the wonderful Epic Sweep Records (who have also released a raft of other fantastic musicians such as Maxine Funke, Matt Middleton, The Aesthetics and A.J. Sharma – all highly recommended). It came out on 40 lovely acetate records, which are now sold out, but thanks to the wonders of Bandcamp you can still hear the lovely sounds contained within. The 7″ was produced by Finn Johansson at his home studio (he also plays a bit of piano on it), and mastered by Luke Rowell (of the wonderful Disasteradio). To top it all off, the cover art was done by the amazing Kate Laundon. We also have an EP in the works (also produced by Finn) and an album (produced by the fantastic Joel Cosgrove). Expect a whole load of new things from The Bent Folk this year!

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Bent Folk Seven Inch

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“The Bent Folk are captured here in a slow and beautifully direct mood… the band does to folk what the Renderers do to country; both build on and break away from tradition. The single comes with a live four track CDR recording of the band which features a blistering cover of Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain’. It showcases the more damaged-psych power of the band live.” (Epic Sweep)

“Dick Whyte’s lyrics balance folk’s utilisation of well-worn phrases (the “trad arr.” of language) with an uncanny/repressed that seeps through, roughed-up by his actually singing in an all-too-rare Kiwi accent. Rupert Hunter scuffs up the track with both feedback scree and psych bravado… while Helen O’Rourke’s brisk, sympathetic drumming stops affairs degenerating into sogginess.” (Stevie Kaye, The Corner)

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NEW ALBUM: “This Is Your Brain On Drukqs” (Supercomposer, 2013)

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kanye west aphex twin supercomposer drukqs

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So, it’s been a long damn while since I updated but it’s not cause I haven’t been making things – life just got in the way. So many new things to post, so I’ll just take my time and get them up as they occur to me. For now, here is Supercomposer’s 2013 album, Volume 2 of my ongoing plunderphonic collaborations with Kanye West. Like the previous volume, George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People, this features two extended minimalist piano compositions made from samples used by West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This time I have repurposed Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th, (an amazing track in its own right) which West used in Blame Game.

In other news YEEZUS is fucking HOT. Don’t let anyone tell ya any different. I mean, come on, even Bruce Springsteen loves it. Check his performance of Blood On The Leaves from Jools Holland if you don’t believe me. I mean, as always, Kanye’s lyrics about women are problematic to say the least, but I have never been one to write something off solely because of this (the entire history of white male rock music, anyone?). That’s not to say I don’t think his representation of women shouldn’t be critiqued either – it should. Nuff said.

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NEW RELEASE: “Dick Whyte and the Bent Folk BOOTLEG” (April, 2013)

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bentfolkbootleg

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Since late last year I have been jamming some old and new songs with Big Rick! drummer extraordinaire Helen O’Rourke. This slowly turned into a more serious project with the addition of Yawn guitar legend Rupert Hunter. We played a few gigs under a variety of names (Dick Whyte and the Red-Headed Step-Child, Dick Whyte and Epic Friends, Dick Whyte and the Easy Travellers) until Noel Meek described us as ‘bent folk’ at the last Crypt Sessions, which seemed to stick.

Since then we’ve played a few more gigs and started recording. There is a bootleg of our last live show up on Bandcamp, a 7″ recorded by the wonderful Finn Johansson (of ex-Wellington country band Johnsonville City Nights) ready to come out (as soon as we find a label or some cash to release it) and two more gigs this month (one on the 11th of May at Evil Genius Records with Toucan Stubbs, and one at The Crypt on the 18th of May, with Seth Frightening, Baba Rosa and Saint Cosmos, curated by Noel Meek). We’re also planning another recording session soon and will be opening for David Rovics at Puppies later this year.

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Dick Whyte, Helen O'Rourke and Gary Cranston

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Inspiration - Samin Son and the Garrett Street Collective

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Dick Whyte and Rupert Hunter at The Crypt Sessions

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Dick Whyte and Helen O'Rourke at Home Economics 3

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Kittentank, Desperanados and The Bent Folk at San Fran Bath House

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Toucan Stubbs and The Bent Folk at Evil Genius

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Weird Folk for Weird Folk at The Crypt

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TWO NEW ALBUMS: “Supercomposer Vs. Unknown Rockstar” + “ESPlunderphonics” (Supercomposer, 2012)

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Two new Supercomposer albums just out! The first is a series of remixes of the improv-noise musician Unknown Rockstar, in which I reduce each of his albums to a single track of music, through speed manipulation and layering, released on Postmoderncore Records last month. Free to download and listen here.

The second is a series of supercompositions made from free 30s song samples on the ESP Disc website (for those who don’t know, ESP is one of the preeminent free-jazz labels of the 20th century). Based on the following simple instructions: “1) Open an album at random on espdisc.com. 2) Start playing the first free 30s song sample. 3) After approximately 10s start playing the second 30s song sample. 4) Repeat process until the source material is exhausted, while recording the outcomes.” It includes remixes of Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Charles Manson and Billie Holliday (among others). Have a listen to Supercomposer’s efforts below – or try making your own! Free to download on Bandcamp.

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NEW RELEASE: “Haiku News Anthology 2009-2011” (Lawrence & Gibson, 2012)

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“Since its inception in 2009, Dick Whyte and Laurence Stacey’s Haiku News – the newspaper written in the Japanese poetic form of haiku – has continued to promote the idea that “the personal is the political is the poetical”, allowing writers to share their personal reflections on noteworthy news items, presenting the current political climate in a new, often very personal light. And it is certainly no arena for cheap attempts at word-game haiku. This is a very serious literary journal that documents our times in the short form poetry of writers across the globe. Indeed, the poems that have graced the pages of this unique newspaper since 2009 have, with and without the stories that inspired them, presented some staggeringly exquisite and moving moments of micropoetry.” (Liam Wilkinson)

We are proud to announce the publication of the very first Haiku News Anthology on the independent NZ press Lawrence & Gibson, later this month. It contains 258 haiku, tanka, kyoka and senryu by 48 different authors from all over the globe, originally published on the Haiku News website between 2009 and 2011, edited by myself and Laurence Stacey, with an introduction by Liam Wilkinson. Pre-order your copy today for a very reasonable price (postage included).

We are launching the book (what is it, a ship?) on the 15th of November at Unity Books in Wellington at 6pm, along with two other new Lawrence & Gibson titles – Richard Meros’ Easy Whistle Solo and William Dewey’s The Homeland of Pure Joy. We are truly proud to be in such fine company. See you there!

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NEW RELEASE: “To France” (Big Rick EP, 2012)

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I am currently playing bass for the Wellington rock band Big Rick, and having a blast doing it (that’s us above, with me in the funny hat). The band also includes the wonderful Heleyni Pratly on guitar and vocals, Joel Cosgrove on guitar and vocals, and Helen O’Rourke on drums. My time in the band ends in December, when the new bass player Rohan takes over (an exciting addition). At that time I will resume production duties (Heleyni jokingly refers to me as their Brian Eno – although Jim O’Rourke and Bob Rock are also apt comparisons, though I am unsure which I prefer). For now you can check out their first EP ‘Big Rick To France’ on Bandcamp (which I did not play on, but did help engineer and mix). I especially recommend the first song Boogie Dance, which is an absolute gem (and if that doesn’t satisfy your appetite, they have some demos online as well).

Big Rick are also playing a lot of shows in the next two months so keep your eyes and ears open. The EP release gig is happening on Dec. 1st at the Newtown Bowls Club in Wellington, and we’re playing in Auckland, Dunedin and possibly Christchurch too, later in December (as well as various parties and some other surprise appearances). Find out more by checking out their Facebook Page.

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REISSUE: “Revolt Of Capricorn” (Nova Scotia, CD, 2009/2012)

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Fourth album by electroacoustic improvisers Nova Scotia (Dean Brown, Rick Jensen, Dick Whyte). Originally released on the independent label Nezvanova Nova this album was unavailable pretty much as soon as it came out. Finally, thanks to the beauty of Bandcamp, it’s in print again for the first time in two years. And while I may be slightly bias, this album is one of my favorite Nova Scotia releases so it makes me especially happy to see it reissued digitally. Find out more about Nova Scotia on the weirdly comprehensive H-Town Wiki.

Liner Notes: Track 2, 3 and 4 recorded at the Photospace Gallery in Wellington on 16/07/03. Track 5 recorded during the 2002 Lines of Flight festival at Arc Cafe in Dunedin on 29/09/02. Track 6 recorded at the Photospace Gallery on 17/12/05. Who knows what instruments we’re all playing – but I can hear horns, harmonicas, bells, tape loops, acoustic guitar and radios, among other things.

“Clearly, the practice of employing geographical themes in band designations has produced largely dubious outcomes (e.g. Asia, Boston, Chicago, America, Kansas, Berlin, Danzig, Hanoi Rocks, etc.). Also personally, I regard naming anything after anything to do with the frozen wasteland otherwise known as Canada to be a questionable aesthetic move. This is just my prejudice. I firmly believe that America has been watching the wrong border for far too long. But that’s another discussion. The music of Nova Scotia, however, has got enough swank to make me forgive any misgivings about their moniker. For those who thrive on other band comparisons, their m.o. could be described as the Animacathedral Lab Technicians Orchestra of Admittance. This is not, however, to imply that these folks smartly rip off obscure bands whilst most stupidly rip off well-known bands. No, if you dig the four outfits I just referred to, you’ll be happy to shovel this dirt too. Sparse, ramshackle drug shuffle that fuses kooky “ethnic” influences and improv abstractions with aplomb.” (Reid Gilchrist, from a review of the 2002 Lines of Flight Festival)

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“The Face Of Panic Episode 1” (Radio Show, Tao and Laura Wells, 2012)

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First episode of The Face Of Panic, a new radio show produced by Laura Wells and hosted by Tao Wells, is up on Soundcloud for anyone that missed it last Thursday. Featuring a great selection of music (Yoko Ono, Crude, Lightning Bolt), an interview with activist/politician Sue Bradford, a reading from Peter Burger’s ‘Theory of the Avant-Garde’ and a short appearance by yours truly. The show airs fortnightly, with the next episode on Thursday June 21st from 8-10pm (NZ time) streaming live on Fresh FM. UPDATE: Listen to more episodes on their blog.

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“New Zealand 100% Pure Activism” (Digital Images, 2012)

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