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Direen, Bill And The Hat

Flavour Of The Meat

Grapefruit
LP $20.25

09/17/2013

GY 3-3 


Grapefruit is a subscription-based record club now in its third year, founded by musician Simon Joyner and Ba Da Bing Records head Ben Goldberg to release exclusive, limited-edition, vinyl-only albums as part of an annual series, sharing identical cover art but in different colors. Subscribers receive an LP every three months, by artists that are of some renown, or are just getting started. The only connection between each group is that Joyner and Goldberg are both fans. Only 300 copies of each release are pressed—and for a limited time, these LPs are now available outside a direct subscription in extremely low quantities. Bill Direen and Hamish Kilgour go back to the early days of NZ’s Flying Nun label and even earlier, when the members of bands like The Clean and Vacuum would skulk to each other’s shows in small bars or run-down church halls in the suburbs of Christchurch. In 1983, Direen and Kilgour were working within a cat’s call of each other, Kilgour at Flying Nun Records and Direen at his Blue Ladder Theatre. The Clean worked out in the Blue Ladder rehearsal rooms and Direen and Alec Bathgate laid down the eerie “Spell” there on reel-to-reel four-track. But it wasn’t until 1989 that Direen and Kilgour worked together on a recording project, when Direen visited NYC for the first time, staying downtown for a couple of months. Kilgour, Lower East Side resident, invited some musician friends to make up a band; Direen flew a former Bilder up from Gainesville Florida. 2013 saw the long-living pair Direen and Kilgour again in NY, performing in Kilgour’s now-home Brooklyn, in Philadelphia and in East Village. In-stores, radio shows and duos climaxed in a four-piece assault at Secret Project Robot with Miggy Littleton and David Watson, who brought their own energy to the mix. The chance meeting of the four started taking on the dimensions of a project when the group with fire in its veins was captured by Gary Olson at Marlborough Farms Studio. Direen was first amazed by Watson’s improvisation skills in Wellington (New Zealand) in the late ’80s, when the latter was involved with the Braille improvisation collective. Watson has since carved a fearsome identity for himself out of inspired free manipulation of the bagpipes; he is so rightly respected for this in NYC and in Europe, that it is easy to overlook his other skill-research — deft Pollock-like investigations on his Gibson 335. The twelve tracks range from garage pop to acoustico-electric assault, and most were recorded in a single session. Expect conventional songs with alternating bursts of improvisation.

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