MUSIC NEWS
Here's Five: End Of The Alphabet Records

Here's Five: End Of The Alphabet Records

Wednesday 30th September, 2015 12:33PM

This month marks the one year anniversary of New Zealand-based experimental label End Of The Alphabet Records. Helmed by sonic adventurer Noel Meek, the label launched onto the scene last September with the highly-accessible drone and noise compilation NoFi Rainbow Vol. 1 and has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. In its efforts to showcase established and up-and-coming sound artists from New Zealand and abroad, the label has added some impressive releases to its roster, so to celebrate their anniversary we asked Noel to share five songs that signify pivotal points for End Of The Alphabet since its inception...


1. Antony Milton – Surface Sign
from There Are Other Possibilities (End of the Alphabet Records, 2014)
Before we started the label, Olivia and I were lucky to garner tonnes of advice from the guys who started some of my favourite New Zealand labels – Bruce Russell (Xpressway and Corpus Hermeticum), Campbell Kneale (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) and particularly, Antony Milton of Pseudoarcana. All three are musicians who ran their own labels and built strong national and international networks through piles of releases and touring. They set the bar high for those who followed, as well as laying the groundwork for many of the networks we’ve been working on. Antony has been my mentor from day one, giving me contacts, helping out with technical details and sourcing materials, as well as regularly raising a glass with me to celebrate our successes. Really, he’s been an amazing, stand-up dude.


2. Arrington de Dionyso – Part One
From Lovers and Dragons (End of the Alphabet Records, 2014)
Landing Arrington for the label was a real thrill. Not only was he our first non-Australasian artist, he has also been a huge influence on my own music. The album he gave us is simply awesome – from the heavy, mind-bending mix of horns, drums and throat singing, to the beautiful ¼ inch tape production; not to mention his gorgeous artwork. It set a high standard for our releases and really helped establish the label’s aesthetic. It also taught me that approaching my musical heroes was as simple as sending an email. There’s a huge interest in New Zealand music in the international underground (in large part thanks to Bruce, Campbell and Antony) and I discovered quickly that heaps of big names from all over the globe were keen to work with us – coming up we’ve got the likes of Floris van Hoof, Ashtray Navigations, Lasse Marhaug and fucking Wolf Eyes!


3. Senyawa – Senyawa
From Pekak! 20 Years of Indonesian Noise 1995-2015 (End of the Alphabet Records, out Oct 2015)
For years I’ve been interested in strange music from strange places. There’s an element of exoticism in there, but largely I find it fascinating to hear how experimental musicians operate in radically different environments. After releasing Yan Jun’s Microfeedback Lausanne last year Yan and I started talking about getting me over to China for a tour. Unfortunately this fell apart due to a government crackdown in China on experimental music venues (which also saw another of our artists, Kawabata Makoto, banned from China because of his psychedelic album artwork. Apparently the authorities don’t like weird things, large gatherings of people, or foreigners being around either of those things. Aside from this, Yan explained to me just how hard it can be to work over there. Instead of China, I’m off to Japan and Indonesia. The Indonesian tour is organised by Indra Menus. The scene over there sounds fantastic, with illegal street gigs, lots of small, improvised venues and a hell of a lot of passion. Indra also curated an amazing compilation of Indonesian experimental music we’re lucky enough to be putting out in October - featuring here is Senyawa, who are at the vanguard of the scene, touring and releasing all over the world.


4. Omit - Knockdown
From NoFi Rainbow Vol. 2 (End of the Alphabet Records, out November 2015)
Clinton Williams, AKA Omit, is the quintessential reclusive Kiwi weirdo musician for overseas journalists. People write with such passion about the albums he’s been putting out since the early nineties. I first met Clinton at Lines of Flight this year and was impressed by what a lovely, down to earth guy he was. I asked if he was interested in joining the label at some stage and the next thing I knew, there on our doorstep was an amazing package of CDs and artwork. I spent an afternoon having my mind blown going through it all. Soon afterwards we worked out a deal to sell his zines through the label and they’ve proven to be very popular. I’m hoping for another box of amazement from him soon, as well music for a 7” he has coming up. Clinton’s zines are also the start of our sideline in music-related art – we’ll be announcing a few more later in the year.


5. TAB – FI$$H
(Self released, 2015)
The main reason we launched the label was because there was nowhere for younger New Zealand experimental artists to release locally. Even more established artists like Bruce Russell and Pat Kraus had labels in Europe and the States. There was a gap there and we’ve been lucky enough to start filling some of it. A big part of that has been working on our splits series - matching up New Zealand artists with well-known internationals in the hope that it’ll raise the profile of the locals and give them new connections internationally. Our newest act is TAB, a crazy duo of drums, vocals and Gameboy. I met Chris from TAB when he was still a precocious freejazz drummer in high school. He’s always been enthusiastic and a damned hard worker. These guys cut a really fine live show and I was stoked to add them to our second compilation of local weirdness: NoFi Rainbow Vol. 2 (out in November) with plans for a split tape next year.





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