Bandit King Records
Two of the things that have, in my lifetime, always made me feel a) like a New Zealander and b) like it’s okay to be a New Zealander are the words, worlds and voice of Sam Hunt and the slacker guitar of David Kilgour; nonchalant phenomenon. I’ll take Kilgour with The Clean, with his Heavy 8s, alone with an acoustic guitar, and I’ve listened to Sam, and read Sam’s words for over half of my life now.
They’re building the monuments to their own work through the very work they’re making. That’s what will stand.
It seemed the logical thing – and a dream come true all at once – when Kilgour and Hunt hooked up, made Falling Debris, it’s Sam’s words shifted into song-clothing and sung and played by David and his band. And it felt and sounded like if Sam Hunt made records.
And ever since then – and even before it in dreams – was the idea that they’d make a record together. On that tour to accompany Falling Debris, where Sam stood up with the band and performed a handful of songs they worked up the versions of The 7th, Wavesong and the James K. Baxter poem The Gunners’ Lament that you hear here, on The 9th, the collaboration album that has finally happened. (In fact the music behind the Gunner’s Lament is Sept.98, an old Heavy 8s piece that you may, as fans, remember from 2001’ s A Feather In The Engine).
The rest of this album was shot and captured live, in just a few days. Then Sam would have shot through again. Just down to Dunedin to stand inside the sound and offer his brand of fury. Just a few days and then he’d be on his way.
It is the perfect mix of what you could hope and expect. If you remember when Sam Hunt would give his address as 1. Cook Strait then this is the music from that location, the swirl and coil, the wind and sway. Kilgour can summon the sound of the squall from the south, just as Sam can intone every pub conversation he’s ever had or heard or avoided. And someone how they go together, were always meant to, one – after all – so often informs the other.
Put your headphones on and head off on a walk around New Zealand. You couldn’t find a better soundtrack. The gentle piano of To Be House, the rousing madness of When Morning Comes, the thoughts behind (and inside) You House The Moon and of course Sarah – these are Sam’s hits, but not as he’s always sung them, just with the realisation of an intent he’s always had. They suit this setting. And when Kilgour’s mourning guitar laconically evokes Eno as we get to Sarah (“your body has no flaw”) it’s the day done. This could only ever have sounded one way.
Somewhere, one day, they’ll issue these – part of the survival pack if you plan on staying here, if you hope on ever understanding the place. So, get yours now – you can never be too prepared.