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March 14, 2011 | by  | in Music |
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Lauris Album Release, Happy, Thursday 24 February

Arriving mid-song of Wellingtonian act Snowfield, I was met with the likelihood that the ‘Counting to One, Two, Three, Four’ album release for Lauris would be a gig for thinking rather than the usual boogie-fest. Snowfield’s set made me think that if cLOUDDEAD had an affair with Laurie Anderson and made the lovechild grow up in modern New Zealand to acquire a kiwi accent, you’d probably really enjoy his set. The addition of synth and pedals on keyboard was particularly charming as his onstage prop and instantly gave me a feeling of homeliness, beyond that which is custom of Happy. In fact, Anderson’s work seemed to be a running theme with the gig, spoken word being the primary use of vocals by Snowfield in his later collaboration with Lauris.

On Wellington artist Laurise, whose album release party we were attending… Can you say minimalism? It’s not an usual occurrence for an artist to dim their lights onstage to help the audience ‘feel’, and considering the poor weather, I was pleased when the lights were lowered. He played two tracks, each lasting roughly 20 minutes, making up the entirety of his set, the aesthetic seemingly dominated by every outcome that could possibly be generated to do with expression over one chord. It was easy to get lost in the sound and nice to have some thinking time to oneself, Lauris’ style being akin to Eno’s Ambient for Airports (a great cure for a headache/hangover by the way, if you ever need a musical remedy).

The consistency of the sound and familiarity washed over you, Lauris himself never moving from a cross-legged position on stage, which eventually tempted the majority of the crowd to sit on the floor like they were being taught some kind of important spiritual lesson. While his music was methodical, it also meant you couldn’t sneak off to the loo for fear of breaking the musical mantra. Perhaps he was communicating some overriding message. Perhaps he was just counting to 2190. Either way it was a nice change to have some headspace to allow you to listen and think at a gig.

His set was followed by a collaboration between Snowfield and himself, which again screamed of Anderson’s writing style as Snowfield’s enigmatic vocals literally told us all a story. Personally, I enjoy story tapes so I felt immediately obliged to like it, Snowfield’s usual stripped back melodies and spoken-word vocals complying nicely with Lauris’ number counting. Maybe music school has drilled into me a certain understanding that makes me aesthetically biased to enjoy this music, and granted not everyone will enjoy sitting back and listening to variations on the same chord for 40 minutes, but I can’t help feeling that if these two continue to collaborate, Wellington will have an act to really boast about.

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