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Newsletter Issue #87: 26 Feb 2006

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Thoughts From The Studio

February would have to be considered a strange month, musically speaking. The record companies have just spent the last couple of months pushing the new CDs from their major artists. In the months leading up to Christmas there is a huge push for all manner of best-of's, special edition re-releases, new product, live DVDs, all kinds of things, then suddenly it all goes very quiet. Given the lull from the big boys February is the ideal time to sneak something indie under the radar and out to the public. It is in this frame of mind that we find ourselves in the studio working on our EP.

The studio is nothing new to Ishtar, we've been lucky enough to have scored a lot of free demo recordings through MAINZ and SAE over the years and have been in to studio 203 to record a single. Still it strikes me there are a few things we are prepared for and few things that still surprise me, nothing more than 'recording ears'.

For those of you who have never had it, recording ears is this. You are going into the studio to record a song that you have practiced so many times in the last two weeks you know every little nuance of the song. You have jammed along to a metronome and spent half an hour alone working out the ideal tempo, BVs are sussed and you and your bassist have new strings and have borrowed the best amplifiers ever made. The drums are the best tuned they have ever been and you are working with your dream producer, the song is going to sound better than you ever dreamed- and for a short space of time you are going to hate it and wonder what it is you are even doing as a musician.

I don't think it hits everyone but personally I cannot think of a time when I haven't been struck by recording ears. You get the recording back and are stoked by it. You play it to lots of people who love it, somewhere in the process you listen to it one too many times. You start to think "What was I thinking with that guitar tone?" or "man that phrasing was way off!" Usually you find yourself listening to things on the radio and applying the same logic. I remember one point in the process of recording 'The Enemy Within' that I was listening to Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and being shocked that Brian May had let it go out with those notes at the end being so obviously sharp. I found that for a week I couldn't listen to music for fear I'd find fault in everything I'd previously loved. A week later as suddenly as it came on it went and I could listen to music again.

I'm not sure what causes this Coney Island mirror view of our music but suspect it has more to do with looking at something too closely than any self esteem issues and do have to wonder if Dali ever looked at his melting clocks with disgust or Michael Campbell ever looks at his golf swing on video and comments on how hideous it is compared to Tiger's, I don't think it would just be musicians who over analyse things. Maybe it is just the price of doing something the right way?

In any case my thought for the day, in the midst of recording and soon to be a bit more neurotic, it is a great time to be getting your stuff out there but be aware while others love it you could start hating it yourself for a short time.

That was the first of our guest editorials, where we invite a band member or other music industry personality to write about their thoughts. "Thoughts From The Studio" was written by Simon, legendary guitarist from Auckland hard rock band Ishtar. If you're interested in writing material for inclusion in our newsletters and getting great exposure, send an email to [email protected]


David Dallas (aka Con Psy) and producer Forty One (Nick Maclaren) are Frontline. Dave's superb lyrical ability and Nick's expertly crafted beats make for some of the most intelligent and accomplished hip-hop music to arise from these shores.

Not about hype or gimmicks, these two strike you immediately as a cut above the average rap release. They've amassed a following far beyond the norm for debut artists through their regular live gigs and solid releases.

Their limited edition street album 'What You Expect?' moved over 1000 copies with no formal means of distribution. Their debut full length album 'Borrowed Time' was released on Dirty Records (home to Scribe and P-Money) in October 2005 to rave reviews including five stars in the New Zealand Herald.

The three singles from Borrowed Time; 'Breathe With Me', 'What Was You Thinkin' and 'Hold'em', have all received high rotates on C4 and Juice TV.

Frontline have been consistently touring since the release of their album and continue to win over crowds throughout Australasia. 

With their incredible songs and a strong commitment to music of the highest quality, Frontline are the most important rap group in New Zealand. Go Tell Your Boys...

Frontline will be performing at EdgeFest this year, so for more information check out their artist page at muzic.net.nz


Ishtar are a four piece hard rock group from Auckland. Their sound's a mixture of progressive leanings, heavy riffs, shred guitar, killer female vocals and a gothic undertone. Besides being known for virtuosity they are also accomplished 'songwriters' who give 'the song' priority over technical prowess.

In 2005 Ishtar released, 'The Enemy Within', currently getting airplay on Valdus radio and The Axe Attack, and included on the Tsunami charity CD, Reconstruction. Ishtar plan on carrying down this path in 06. They are recording several more tracks for inclusion on their debut EP, intended for release April 06. They are also looking for bigger gigs and plan to gig south of the Bombay hills. They have a few other plans they don't want to divulge yet but overall Ishtar plan to go from unsigned to independent and from a band musicians have heard of to a band in the public eye.

For more information on Ishtar, check them out on muzic.net.nz!

What's New!


Both albums are up for grabs on our competition page!


Those familiar with RSS will know what this is and what it does. You can now get our news headlines fed directly into our favourite RSS client, or even add our feed to your website. You'll find the link to the feed on the front page of muzic.net.nz:

There are also new links there to take you directly to the Gig forum (Gig Updates) and to the Annoucements Forum, which are two great areas to keep up-to-date with all the latest industry info! We'll be setting up feeds for these as well, soon!


The following are new bands and musicians that we have added over the past two weeks:

Undaground Recordings The Body Corporate
Urban Ersha Cubed
James Player Lusapher
Renee-Louise Carafice


Not many people know how much NZ Music there is to listen to online. Here's a couple of good websites to get you started:

Vision 100 FM - Palmerston North based long time local supporters of NZ Music
KiwiFM - Used to be Channel Z, and then they went Kiwi

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Billie Eilish
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
    Kendrick Lamar
    Billie Eilish
View the Full NZ Top 40...
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