With all the Australian labels mining every ‘lost’ new wave, post-punk and indie gems onto vinyl you wouldn’t think there’d be anomalies left. But refreshingly this doesn’t take the hallowed M-squared discography as its foundation like so much of the Oz wave reissue caravan, instead tackling more outwardly focused artists’ whose international and indigenous DIY influences had been always swirling around Australia and New Zealand during the 70s and 80s but somehow never got the oxygen.
Olev Muska’s highly synthesized rework of traditional Estonian waltz, ‘Karjapoisi Lugu (A Shepherd's Tale)’ has more incommon with Stroom’s foray into the Baltic reissues (like your Spokis and NSRDs) than it does with his native Sydney. New Zealand’s Free Radicals’ contribution is a tribal PVC pipe workouts over dubbed-out guitar loops and fx (think Pelican Daughters with pan flutes) stripped from out of print 12” that had bizarrely found it’s way onto on Bill Direen’s indie label, South Indies, in ‘87. Māori artist Ngahiwi Apanui uses his indigenous language to tell a New Zealand origin story dubbed over a glacial motorik drum machine sequences, which even today sounds absolutely future-proof despite being recorded in 1989. And rather than end with the all-consuming fourth world palette that runs through this record, the compilers chose a more pointed psych excursion recalling a meeting between Robert Ashley and Robert Haigh on Rainbow Generators’ ‘City of the Sun.’ Anomalies at every turn. An essential and definitive statement.