Dave ‘Wisely’ Mitchell is a Wellington based Film & Theatre Producer /Director, Film Blogger & Humankind Enthusiast. The single biggest gift he has been given in his life so far is that of Music. Growing up in a liberal household in rural New Zealand was the perfect hotbed for musical indoctrination. His father’s modest yet eclectic collection of vinyl & CDs dominated his weekends, often strewn across the polished timber floors of their 100 year old house, he’d hunt through song by song to find that next new track or musical moment. As these moments were collected his appreciation grew. At 12 his friends were listening to Savage Garden or Silver Chair whilst he had graduated to Led Zeppelin, SRV & John Hiatt. These many years later he’d be lost without those hours of discovery; creatively he’s broke without music and sound. Their ability to complement narrative and visual story telling & heighten emotion thorough performance is essential to the cinematic experience. Music is meant to be shared: thanks Simon for giving us the platform to do so. Here are five albums Dave is loving right now…
1 – The Cinematic Orchestra, Everyday: Often for me the first listen of an album is the most powerful. I’ll never forget when my mate recommended The Cinematic Orchestra – I described it at the time as a day-changer. Everyone I met for the next couple of days had to hear about this album whether they liked it or not. The brain child of Jason Swinscoe, The music of Cinematic Orchestra is designed to take us on a journey. Much like a well-trained chef Swinscoe is able to strike a fine balance in textures; the result is the fine tasting 2002 album. Every Day. A musical experiment within the ‘Nu Jazz’ Genre, Everyday plays delicately with tempo, electronica, looping & spoken word. Tracks like All Things to All Men feature a meandering hypnotic build only to be pleasantly disrupted by Roots Manuva laying down rhythmical rhymes to distort our senses. This is currently a daily go-to album.
2 – Tiny Ruins, Brightly Painted One: For me Hollie Fullbrook A.K.A Tiny Ruins is one of the most accomplished lyricists to come of New Zealand, she has all the imagery of a poet and narrative of the storyteller. With each Tiny Ruins release I find something new to love and a new memory to take away. Brightly Painted One is her second full-length album and on par with the best albums to come out of New Zealand in the last few years. It’s hard not to compare her to Laura Marling but arguably that’s not a bad thing. It’s the kind of album to take you away and back again after a long day.
3 – Mandolin Orange, This side of Jordan: At the heart of my passion for music is Americana. There is something powerful about the simplicity of harmonising voices & guitar. If you toss a few sparse instruments into the mix I’ll buy it by the barrel load. There is an abundance of folksy country duos in this world. If it wasn’t for their remarkably subtle yet aptly tonal voices and exceptional songwriting it would have been easy for Mandolin Orange to become lost in the crowd. Partners in music and love, multi instrumentalists Andrew Marlin & Emily Frantz’s third album, This Side of Jordan, has my heart. It’s full of good old fashioned songs, each with its own distinctive melody without the interference of over engineering or crowded tracks. If you like David Rawlings and Gillian Welch this will be a nice find for you.
4 – Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams: Yeah yeah, maybe this isn’t the right forum to get sympathy about Ryan Adams. What can I say, I’m a fan! It’s clear that there are two types of music fans in this world – those that love Ryan and those that hate him. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground, although if there is, Simon Sweetman is probably it.
Like most fans I was eagerly awaiting the new album. I knew from the outset it was a return to the electric guitar, an instrument he has abandoned for the last few years. It’s not that I don’t enjoy him pining away alone on stage, it’s that my love of him extending his voice above the noise of a full band is greater. For the most part Simon’s review is a fair assessment of the album. For me there are three songs that make it self-evident why this album is his best since Cold Roses. Gimme Something Good – the opening track – is bold, it’s loud and it screams “I’m back & fuck you I write rock songs”. The second piece of evidence is Am I Safe, it’s crunchy, it’s got a great hook, the bass drum is recorded perfectly and it pops, driving the song along at a pace. The third song I love on this album is Stay With Me. For me it’s reminiscent of the late 80s when choruses were short but numerous, bridges were ample and you want to sing along at the top of your lungs. Non Ryan fans give this album a chance, if you don’t like it I couldn’t give a fuck.
5 – Yeahyeahabsolutelynoway, Um: Signed to Kiwi label Rattle, Yeahyeahabsolutelynoway are a long way from home. Hailing from Adelaide this instrumental trio were signed off the back of guitarist James Brown’s contribution to the exceptional Adam Page/John Psatha’s collaboration Harvest. Unconventional in pretty much every sense, they chose to form as two lead guitarists and a drummer. Best described as ‘70s confusion’ these guys bring acidic jazz & rock slamming together in a sea of battling guitar runs and crashing drums. The songs from their debut album, Um, whilst best experienced live, are wonderfully captured on this exquisite album. Best to turn this up loud and enjoy the ride.