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Above Ground was a fleeting yet no less important piece in the awesome DIY Christchurch scene of the early ’80s. Together only for a short period in 1983, the band was comprised of Bill Direen (Vacuum / Builders), Carol Direen, Maryrose Crook (Max Block / Renderers) and Stuart Page (Axemen). They combined a ubiquitous and detached Velvet Underground vibe and a smattering of early Modern Lovers keyboard angst with some kind of Sky Saxon / Seeds psychedelic mojo. Above Ground was a formidable outfit in their brief existence and deserve more than a mere footnote in the history of one of the most vibrant scenes to exist in the past 30 years. Gone Aiwa originally saw life as a limited-edition cassette made to order and sold to various shops and at the occasional gig. So unless you were there (and chances are, you weren’t), it’s a good bet this material will be fresh to your ears—though two tracks did see the light of day on the Direen / Builders retrospective CD, Max Quiz, released by Flying Nun in the mid ’90s. Gone Aiwa the album is finally realized, and what a wonderful thing it is to behold. Just goes to show it’s never too late.