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May 14, 2007 | by  | in Music |
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The Inkling – Deluge

Wellington, like most cities, is a place of constant change. There was a time not long ago when it was possible to cross Willis Street at the Abel-Smith intersection in less than half a day, a time when tight black emo jeans were a rare and rather amusing sight, and it was possible to walk through Aro Park without being invited to sniff glue with filthy old hippies. This was also a time when one could go to a little bar called Lilo, get smashed on cheap tequila, and listen to shit-hot music for hours.

I mention this because, as well as being a place full of many fond memory lapses, Lilo was where I first encountered Wellington four-piece The Inkling.

This (post) rock/jazz/instrumental/whatever group sadly only released one album, but Deluge, recorded by Lee Prebble at the Surgery, will ensure that they are not forgotten any time soon.

From the first track, The Inkling establish the fact that they are a clever, inventive, and sophisticated bunch of musicians. Irregular time signatures and unpredictable chord progressions are combined with impulsive changes of tempo and mood. This is contrasted by long repeated riffs over static chord progressions, which create an almost minimalist feel. Offbeat tone-clusters, reminiscent of Monk, vie for attention with frantic interjections from the trumpet in ‘The Booyeouw Shamble’, while ‘Foreign Exchange’ creates a mood that is at once melancholic and brooding, with a driving, incessant bass-line supporting a delicate, slightly breathy vocal delivery.

While the diverse mix of styles and musical elements can at times make for difficult listening, the tightness of the ensemble playing and the clever, thoughtful arrangements mean that the album never lacks coherence. This is a recording to savour and admire for its unconventional and oddball brilliance.

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