Long awaited album released to critical acclaim
Reviewers tune in and chill out to electronic fusion
4 Aug 2006
New Zealand composer Warwick Blair's long-awaited new album Accordian was released this week to unanimous critical acclaim from major publications such as Sunday Star-Time, New Zealand Herald and Rip It Up, as well as high rotate playlisting on bNet station Radio One.
"NASA would be wise to somehow incorporate Accordian into their next moon mission," said Rip It Up's Phil Bostwick of Blair's otherworldly soundscapes. Mike Alexander at the Sunday Star-Times responded to Blair's contemplative grooves by describing him as a Zen Buddhist equivalent to German electronic music pioneer Stockhausen.
Warwick Blair has already been described as "one of New Zealand's most original musical thinkers" (NZ Herald) and the "enfant terrible of New Zealand Music" (NZ Listener). His 20-year career has included working alongside UK electronica legend Scanner, Greek composer Iannis Xenakis and Madonna/Bjork producer Guy Sigsworth. He has composed for film, television, multimedia and fashion shows, as well as live orchestral concerts both internationally and throughout New Zealand.
Accordian sees Blair rediscovering the territory that had captivated him in the late '80s , an amalgamation of contemporary classical music with elements of electronic pop culture, a strategy that has clearly paid off with the range of reviews coming in.
Accordian demonstrates a fascination with structure, form & shape. Using Blair's new mosaic form, Accordian is based on making cells visible or invisible depending on the shape imposed over them - the shape in this case being the metaphorical concept of an accordion.
Accordian comprises five movements: 'Harp', 'Trumpet', 'Yes', 'Your My' & 'Cry', each lasting approximately ten minutes. They feature the instrumental forces of female or male voice, trumpet, guitar, harp, piano, marimba, percussion, bass keyboard and tape.
Blair is also interested in the adaptabilty of Accordian. It has undergone various interpretations from scored work for acoustic instruments and electronic sounds to the DJ/VJ improvisation performed at 2006's Splore Festival. The latest incarnation featuring three dancers, five musicians, video projection and electronic sounds was premiered at New Zealand's digital arts festival Interdigitate in April.
Accordian is now available from all good music stores and online stockists. Accordian is also available for download from http://www.amplifier.co.nz along with a video for Harp (single edit) by Amber de Boer.
To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated fusion of pop culture and contemporary classical music, there will be a free electronic performance with live visuals from Amber de Boer at Galatos Lounge on August 31 , visit http://www.test-tube.tv for further details.
"With evocative, oceanic swells of electronics or instruments which then drift back to the merest trickle of sounds, this is music cinematic in conception but also so inviting of reflection as to be highly personal ... The final track is beamed in from another cosmos." Graham Reid, NZ Herald
"If Stockhausen had been a Zen Buddhist, he could have been Warwick Blair ... If you like the soundtrack to your headspace to be invigorating and meditative, then Accordian with its gorgeously stark sonic textures animated by throbs, buzzes and processed vocal sounds, is wired to suit." (4/5 stars) Mike Alexander, Sunday Star-Times
"Warwick Blair's highly evolved compositions are the perfect soundtrack to modern rail transport. They're minimalist, strangely eerie, and induce a trance-like state fit for supersonic exploration ... NASA would be wise to somehow incorporate Accordian into their next moon mission." Phil Bostwick, Rip It Up