Wellington house music trio Ebb are one of New Zealand’s most loved and critically lauded dance music groups. Renowned for their smooth organic grooves and extravagant live shows, Ebb are quite simply a cut above the rest.
Voiced by the sultry Lisa Tomlins, with musicians Iain Gordon and Reuben Sutherland providing uplifting beat-driven soundscapes, dub outs, layered effects and skanky samples, Ebb create a sublime mix of underground disco, funk and dub – a sound likened to Donna Summer meeting George Clinton and the Mad Professor in a cheap motel for some late night acapella thrills. Ebb’s special blend of dance music flavours whipped up in a live environment is something quite unique, and has found them favour with fans from all corners of the globe.
No newcomers to this music making biz, Ebb’s triumvirate of talented individuals draw upon extensive experience in a range of musical sectors. Lisa, the vocalist, has been a singer for life, her spellbinding presence the result of many years as a professional vocalist for Wellington-based bands.
Iain, the musician, has an impressive resume which includes artistic direction of 1998 Wellington International Festival Of The Arts event LAGO - an acclaimed "live ambient graphic opera" fusing classical and modern musical styles; as well as regular ivory-tinkling for noted Wellington all star live acts Bongmaster and Fat Freddy's Drop.
Reuben, the all-rounder, doubles his knob-twiddling duties for Ebb with similar musical exploits in breakbeat funk collective The Hairy Lollies, is responsible for Ebb’s striking visual presence, and is an award winning music video director frequently enlisted by the likes of Pacifier and Weta.
In recent years Ebb’s live performances have assumed somewhat legendary status in New Zealand’s dance music circles. Utilising lavish stage sets, costume designers, visual projections, guest musicians and extensive technical crews, the trio’s live audiovisual demonstrations are an experience quite like no other, as they transform environments and push performance boundaries to redefine live dance music for their audiences.
One such set in Wellington’s Town Hall saw Lisa enrapturing the crowd from atop a podium-raised round silken-sheeted bed, and a guest organist incorporated into the line-up - firing up the Hall’s old pipe organ to awesome effect.
For their next tour, with visiting international DJ Common Factor, a full hotel room setting was recreated on stage, setting the scene for a sexy soiree in a small club setting.
And Ebb’s latest outing was the most ambitious of all… the all-night audiovisual extravaganza Plush Bomb took place in Wellington’s most majestic picture palace – The Embassy Theatre. Offering a sophisticated evening’s entertainment including dinner, drinks, a movie and dancing ‘til dawn, the event sold out well in advance. The 800-odd people lucky enough to gain admission were treated to a revitalised Embassy Theatre space and another astonishing Ebb performance. In their ‘War Room’ environment created beneath the Embassy’s giant screen, Ebb thrilled a star-studded crowd for hours, as Reuben’s visuals danced on the screen above. Plush Bomb was a triumphant event, touted by many as Wellington’s electronic music event of year, in spite of the city’s regular throughput of big name international DJs.
On record, Ebb are no less riveting an act. Their select few recordings have captured well the essence of Ebb’s divine musicality. With Lisa’s gorgeous vocals leading the way, the group explore expansive soundscapes composed of organic instrumentation, blistering beats and lashings of extra special studio effects.
Ebb’s debut release proper, the five track 'Plush Bomb' EP, was dropped to unanimous critical acclaim and audience adulation. The independently released disc delves deep into different directions in dance music. With a major record deal declined due to the group’s unwillingness to compromise their musical vision, but another equally attractive international independent release also on offer, Ebb look set to explode onto the global stage and put original, innovative New Zealand dance music in the spotlight.
Lisa Tomlins (vocals)
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Ebb Gain International Release
Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2002 4:37 pm
Thanks to Median Strip for the following story:
Wellington Trio Ebb have had their track 'Someone So True', from the 'Plush Bomb' EP, licensed to Detroit techno legend Derrick May's Transmat Records for international release on the label's 'Time : Space 2' compilation.
The double CD and vinyl compilation is scheduled for global release later this year. Two thirds of Ebb are currently based in the UK, where producer Iain Gordon is hard at work completing a new single for another US label - Nick Calingaert (a.k.a Common Factor)'s Chicago based Tactile Records.
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