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Blog / Features+1

Thomas Arbor: New music and travel

(Post by Thomas Arbor)

Luna (edit):

It's been far too long since I let anyone hear my new music so I'm using this full moon as impetus to share this track, Luna (edit). You can only listen to it here for now:

I plan on adding a few more tracks to this playlist in the coming month. They're quite a departure from my previous works (very short pieces, often based around piano and strings) but hopefully I don't alienate my four 'monthly listeners' : )

Europe travel with MAU Company:

I'm very lucky to have scored some work doing sound for Lemi Ponifasio/ MAU's Jerusalem in Luxembourg and Rome this October! All going well, I aim to post a weekly tour-diary of sorts here alongside the previews of my new music (as above). Stay tuned! 

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Sleigh Bells is the second single from Kirikiriroa-based Nicholas Joseph, released hot on the heels of his debut single Not Yours profiled last month on RNZ.

Sleigh Bells presents dark folk music through a modern lens. Lyrics like ‘‘days like crawling down a corridor” paint a bleak picture, emphasised by hard hitting drums and a menacing guitar line. Just as Nicholas’ stark musings threaten to suffocate the listener, an unexpected chord change breaks through the tension and sends the song skyward. In an instant the song starts to feel summery, nostalgic and sweet. But as ever, there is a darkness lurking: the plaintive line ‘They get you while you are young’’ repeats mournfully to bring Sleigh Bells to a close.

The song was written and produced by Nicholas Joseph at the Never Project Space studio in Hamilton Kirikiriroa, and mastered by Thomas Arbor (Kōtiro, Seth Frightening, I.Ryoko).

Stay tuned for another single and the full EP later in the year! Thanks for listening.

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Post by Thomas Arbor.

Occasionally I get a good excuse to make music outside my usual domain. In this instance I was asked to make an upbeat theme for a podcast called Chewing the Facts. You can listen to the theme by itself here:

About the podcast:

“Join Sasha Borissenko in this 10-part series as she untangles the science, history, and forces behind fatness in Aotearoa, New Zealand.”

Listen to the podcast on your app of choice and/or read more about it at this beautiful website!

The brief:

My take:

Of course my track sounds nothing like them – and can only aspire to be so iconic! –  but I took inspiration from their main ingredients (synth, drums, brass, manipulated voice) – and added mellotron, harp, vibraphone & stuttering electronics (inspired by the thought of sugar and the 50s advertising industry)… and can you spot the sounds of a supermarket checkout and fizzy drink hiss?

I had a lot of fun making this. Thanks to Sasha for her epic, important work on a complex subject and for being a great collaborator – and to Oliver Devlin who did the audio editing and extra music throughout the podcast!


I'm always keen to make custom music so if you'd like something for your own project please get in touch! Email thomasarbormusic@gmail.com : )

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Composer and musician extraordinaire Karl Sölve Steven, aka “one of Aotearoa's most trailblazing musical figures of the past three decades” (UTR) has just released a remix by Dream Chambers

“I love the Dream Chambers adaptation. It's sort of grown the track into another dimension that makes the original feel like a roadmap while this is the actual terrain. It's pretty magical to hear it brought to life in this way; it's like going to sleep having sketched the first sentence of a novel in a notebook and waking up to find the whole thing written.” — Karl Sölve Steven

“In the Cold Light of Day”: Press play and read more below:

Jess aka Dream Chambers described her approach to the remix on UTR“I immediately loved the song's meditative quality… I took Karl's bass synth progression as a jumping off point and created some arpeggios over top using my modular synthesizers.

“I expanded the chord sequence to have a Dream Chambers-esque melodic build. Added some more synths cause I love them and it's fun to layer melody on melody. Then added Karl's synths and drums back in for extra vibe and a nice crescendo at the end. I also added my voice to create a duet with Karl's spoken word and some backing harmonies in the chorus.

“When I was working on this track last year I had a lot of uncertainty in my life and being able to accentuate the optimism of the song and make it into a positive mantra of sorts was really soothing for me.

“As the song says 'It will all be a whole lot clearer in the cold light of day.' I interpreted that as 'Tomorrow is a new day and everything is going to be ok.'” 

All Of Human Emotion On Microfiche (The Remixes) is out on 6th July via Sunreturn

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Works For Loudspeakers is a platform for emerging and established composers working in the field of electro-acoustic music.

This is the 24th edition, featuring works by:

BJ Leo
Andrew Reddy
Jessica Robinson
Tyrone MacIntosh
Ryan Smith
Ivan Clayden
Matt F
& Fern

Many thanks to the composers for their work! Click through to listen & read more.

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WFLS #24

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Documentary / Features+2

Kōtiro video profile on RNZ

Check out this profile of Ana Chaya Scotney, aka Kōtiro, featuring her ocean swimming, hanging in the studio with Thomas Arbor and jamming a new song with Ben Lemi.

“[I really like] figuring out how we can use contemporary technology to bring forward sounds that are inspired by Te Urewera, by the experience of being in places that really put our smallness, our youth as a species into perspective.” – Ana Chaya Scotney / Kōtiro

<iframe title=”YouTube video player” src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZbIG9mrtRB8″ width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>

“Hosted by DJ & music journalist Jess Fu, Amplified spotlights artists who use music to embrace, connect & explore their cultural roots.”

/// Watch the video & read more on RNZ

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