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Owlet Nightjar - Album Review: The Regenerative Principle

23 Nov 2017 // A review by Ria Loveder

Named after an extinct flightless bird in New Zealand, Owlet-Nightjars' are an amalgamation of unusual and attention-grabbing concepts. Their debut album, The Regenerative Principle is a mixture of sounds, featuring elements of soul, dub, blues, reggae, rock, pop and psychedelic. It is a concept album based on a quote from ‘Understanding Shiva’ by D.K Hari and D.K Hema Hari.

“Only when the flower dies do we get the fruit.

Only when the fruit is destroyed do its seeds come out.

Only when the seed breaks open can the new plant emerge to give us more flowers and fruits once again.”

Owlet Nightjar have decided to take this quite literally, with each track relating to a stage in the life cycle of a tree but also they have wanted the encompass the partly random or chaotic phenomena that is reality, as they have stated themselves on their album “The fractal nature of reality comes into play. Synchronicity abounds. As above, so below. The album becomes a microcosm to any macrocosm you choose. A self-contained monad reflecting reality back to itself through the medium of consciousness”.

A project born by guitarist Tim Key from Newtown Rocksteady, this Wellington based band also includes Thomas Friggens on drums from Brockaflower and Bazurka, Raw Collective's Blain Fitzpatrick on bass and Tim’s father, Ted, on keys. Various special guests and musically minded friends also feature throughout this album, making it an eclectic mix of talent.

What I love about this album is how well executed it is. Due to it being an album that has such a diverse range of musical numbers, it has the potential to sound messy and disjointed. However, with its writing and order of songs, it sounds seamless, with the album weaving in and out of numerous genres appealing to a range of music listeners. Even if you’re not a fan of one genre of music in the album, it is still most certainly something that can be appreciated and respected.

My favourite tracks on the album; Big Trees Fall, with an almost rock opera style intro, it immediately had me hooked, with the beautiful contrast of female and male voices over psychedelic sounding guitar then kicking into a reggae styled verses. And We Already Know, which begins with a choir group singing, infused with gospel notations, the sombre tone contrasts beautiful when the guitar, drums, keys and vocals kick in.

Special mention also must be made to the cover art of the album. I know we are taught never to judge a book by its cover, but it was Owlet Nightjar's album cover that first drew me in to listen to them. A surreal image of skulls, mushrooms, roses, geometric shapes and birds, it’s a psychedelic inspired image that is beautifully created and a stunning piece of standalone art.

This album is a wonderful fusion of genres, appealing to a range of music lovers and enthusiasts. It proves that artists don’t have to be known by a particular ‘sound’, and if you needed some more persuasion as to why you should give this album a listen, I will leave you with a quote from Owlet Nightjar themselves. This album is “more or less what we think trees would sound like if they could jam”. And who doesn’t want to listen to that?

Review written by Ria Loveder

About Owlet Nightjar

Owlet Nightjar is a new project from Newtown Rocksteady guitarist Tim Key. The Wellington-based band features Thomas Friggens on drums (Brockaflower, Bazurka etc...), Blain Fitzpatrick on bass (Raw Collective, etc...) and Tim’s Dad Ted on keys, with various friends and special guests dropping in.

They play a unique blend of soul, dub and blues incorporating elements of pop, reggae, psychedelic rock and hip-hop.

They’ve just released their debut album The Regenerative Principle, which is a concept album about trees and the Hindu god Shiva.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Owlet Nightjar


The Regenerative Principle
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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