Encouraged by everyone, Peter decided to continue Lines of Flight. September 2004 had four gigs split between Arc Café, and None Gallery (the artist/musician-run anarchist space which started in 2003 and continued as a crucial part of the Dunedin creative underground right up until 2019).
A vague theme was starting to emerge in the programming – a mixture of established and new acts, some performers returning but playing in new combinations, all having an experimental focus to their music. Improvisation dominated the lineup, and this extended to the filmmaking of both Kim Pieters, and several of the musicians who chose to make films to play their music alongside. There were no vocalists in any bands, and songwriting was similarly absent, or at least invisible. This would subtly change in future years, but the emphasis on experimentation and risk-taking was now set and was and is at the core of Lines of Flight.
“The purpose of Lines has always been to encourage more 'experimental' artists and will continue to be. We felt that alternative rock groups could always play in local venues, but options were more limited for people in our field”, Peter Stapleton said in an interview at the time.
Thursday 30 September, 8pm, None
- Antony Milton
- 3 Forks
- Eye Friday 1 October, 8pm, None
- Alastair Galbraith and Maxine Funke
- Greg Malcolm and Chris O’Connor
- A Handful of Dust Saturday 2 October, 2pm, Arc Cafe
- 1/3 Octave Band
- Nether Dawn
- Eso Steel
- Rosy Parlane Sunday 3 October, 2pm, Arc Cafe
- Rory Storm and the Invaders
- Torlesse Supergroup
- Birchville Cat Motel
- Sandoz Lab Technicians
It was striking how many of the performers also ran small-run record labels – Peter Stapleton (Metonymic), Bruce Russell (Corpus Hermeticum), Campbell Kneale (CelebratePsiPhenomenon), Antony Milton (PseudoArcana), Jim Currin (United Fairy Moons), Rosy Parlane (Sigma Editions) and Richard Francis (CMR). Others self-released their music via CD-Rs and lathes, pressed at Peter King Records in Geraldine. Lines of Flight typically would have a large merchandise table at each gig, where people could buy and swap music, and generally bond over their shared love of this niche music. In this way, LOF acted as a conduit to bring the community together and share and disseminate music and ideas.
The shows at None were great, as a new venue was introduced to the out-of- towners. Rows of old school bench seating were arrayed in front of a low stage, and the compact space and low suspended ceiling gave an intensity to the performances. The films were projected at angles across the walls and ceiling, adding to the energy.
Three Forks (Donald McPherson on guitar, Jim Currin on cello and Tim Cornelius on various instruments) played a mesmerising set, full of beauty and drama. Anti-Clockwise (Brian Crook from the Terminals) used guitar, loop pedals and found sounds in idiosyncratic ways. Eye played our first LOF show which went down well – Nathan and I open-tuned our guitars to each other and played the feedback, while Peter’s martial drumming dialed up the intensity.
I particularly remember Antony Milton’s solo performance – he describes it follows:
“The piece is called 'Quiet". The basic concept is that I create a situation where I have to be as still and physically well balanced as possible so as not to make any noise.- I stand on an amplified steel tray (a fish smoker lid worked perfectly) that is running through a distortion pedal into an amp. This of course has a tendency to squeal and scream with feedback but if you can get your weight balanced on it in just the right way it will be silent.- From my fingers I suspend very resonant steel windchimes that are also amplified via contact mics so that every time I move a muscle in my arms they will 'sound'. - I also tape a contact mic to my chest to mic my heart and try and keep my pulse rate as slow as possible.”
The two Arc shows were afternoon shows, and audience members spilled out into the café and the sunny footpath between acts, sharing stories and making friends.
Roy Montgomery’s Torlesse Supergroup played a contemplative set - two droning guitars creating a trance-like state. Pieters/Russell/Stapleton were surprisingly krautrock, and 1/3 Octave Band played a beautiful drone set. The acts in the festival were uniformly great in my memory, and it felt sad that it all had to end. Someone came up to me at the end and thanked us for doing, and said they had come over from Scotland for the festival. We were amazed, but this was a sign of things to come.
Peter Stapleton had organized most of the festival on his own, in terms of applying for grants, curating and corresponding with musicians. I came on board closer to the time, and enjoyed helping out setting up the shows, corralling performers and gear, and sitting on the door. It was very rewarding, and I was already looking forward to the next one.
- Rory Storm and the Invaders - Crude - Dave Black - The Stumps - Sam Hamilton - Gate - Greg Malcolm - Birchville Cat Motel - isyd - Lovely Midget - Eye - Ray Off - Alastair Galbraith/Maxine Funke/Dino Karlis - Richard Francis - A Handful of Dust - Omit - Adam Willetts - Audible 3 -