29 Feb 2020
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Bill Direen and The Bilders - LP Review: Cut

23 Aug 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

It’s kind of weird reviewing an album which came out 24 years ago. I remember Volt Studios, the enigmatic Brendan Hoffman, he even mastered a cassette release of mine in 1995… but I digress… one wouldn’t want to blather on about a venue and not the music; that would be amateurish…

Dunedin, 1994. The city's in a bit of a creative lull, The Empire, and The Crown are still going strong, but DJ's and dance music clubs are eating the city's rock and roll heart.

Enter Bill Direen, Godfather of theatrical alternative pop. He hooks up with Alistair Galbraith (violin) and Rob Thorne (guitar), Stephen Kilroy (organ) and Kiri Winders (vocals, My Deviant Daughter), while Peter Gutteridge gave advice on how to drive items from his private collection of keyboards.

2018, and Austrian-based Zelle records has re-released this eclectic album on vinyl and digital download.

Words like unique and quirky are frequently overused, but in Bill Direen’s case, they are utterly appropriate.

There are as many ditties and sketches on Cut, as there are songs, the LP is a real snapshot in the life of one of NZ’s most under rated musicians, and unrelatedly, one of the nicest blokes.

The song Prag is one which is much more poetry to music, than song per see, which is a common feature for Direen, who’s as gifted with poetry and prose, as he is with songwriting, and all the disciplines collide on Cut.
Say, which opens up side two is a quick tempo surf psych out.

Direen has long been a showman, always vibrant, colourful and musically interesting and at times challenging.

Cut, in some ways, is his most accessible, and, conversely inaccessible album.
In the 90's, Bill Direen was working clubs, cabarets and theatres with drummer Derek Champion when Peter Jefferies brought them to Dunedin for gigs and recordings.

Bill slept on the floor of the Volt studio, and guests dropped by to add their genre of Dunedin brilliance to the Direen/Champion grooves.

★★★★ (4 stars)


Review written by Darryl Baser

 

About Bill Direen and The Bilders

Bilders is the professional appellation for many different groups led by New Zealand singer-songwriter Bill Direen. Direen began recording in 1978, when working as a community reporter and DJ for a provincial radio station (Radio Marlborough). He is known for literate lyrics, challenging song-subjects and a hands-on recording style that has produced "many genuine classic compositions" [John Dix, Stranded in Paradise]

The first Bilders appeared in 1980 performing material assembled or recorded between 1975 and 1980. Other collaborations have happened in NZ and overseas. The most recent Bilders completed national tours in 2007 and 2008 with Powertool Records. Direen works freely with independent musicians, and collaborations are usually titled Bilders (sometimes... The Builders !) [Bilders poster by Lesley Maclean]


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Bill Direen and The Bilders

Releases

Cut
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Chrysanthemum Storm
Year: 2017
Type: LP
Beatin Hearts
Year: 2016
Type: LP
Schwimmen In Der See
Year: 1982
Type: EP

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