From Aural Innovations #37 (Sep 2007)
The Idle Suite are a six-piece improvisational rock band hailing from Wellington, New Zealand. Their album “Up Two Sticks Road” is an all-instrumental disc, released by Last Visible Dog records on 18th June 2007.
The first track, ironically titled “Single Hits ... Not Hit Singles”, is precisely that, a minimalist construction of single bass and drum hits that serves as the band’s statement of intent for the disc as a whole. The Idle Suite are less interested in song structures and chord sequences than in improvisational and experimental soundscapes. The imaginatively titled “We Are The Urns From Undr” builds up from a quiet opening to a one chord psychedelic jam.
“The A&P Show”, presumably named for those iconic New Zealand farming events, features duelling feedback guitars across five minutes, while the follow-on track “There Is No Such Place” contains droning and sliding reminiscent of the krautrock end of the progressive spectrum. “krap kao” (sic) has a structured metronomic relentlessness which one can’t help wishing would continue beyond the mere two minutes disc time it takes up. The title is from the band’s practice room which was demolished in 2005. In contrast, the nine minute “Sphyma Zygaena” opens with a totally unstructured percussion workout from duel drummers Greg Cairns and James Kirk, before settling down into a steady musical beat which ends in a brief explosion of anarchy.
“Forcefield”, the final track on the album, is undoubtedly the show-piece and starts out with an ascending and descending bassline from David Hall, bringing to mind lost Pink Floyd expreiments such as “Moonhead” and “Corrosion”. Piercing Syd Barrett-style guitar notes slide in and out, as the percussion slowly builds and hits its rhythmic stride. Maximum thrust is achieved around the ten minute mark, leaving the rest of this 23 minute track to tail off into a kind of post-coital alien comedown.
Members of The Idle Suite hail from a variety of New Zealand underground bands including Sferic Experiment, Marineville, The Stumps, Dress, Sandoz Lab Technicians, King Loser, Cloudboy and Bad Statistics. Musically, they reference the psychedelic rock of early Amon Duul II, and Hawkwind’s debut album. Think of tracks like “The Reason Is”, “Paranoia” and “Seeing It As You Really Are” being put through a Kiwi indie-rock blender, and you will start to have an idea of what The Idle Suite have in store for you. The band are making plans to tour outside New Zealand, and live recordings have been made for their next release.
For more information you can visit the band’s web site at: http://www.myspace.com/idlesuite
Also you can visit the bands record label web site at: www.lastvisibledog.com
Reviewed by Pat Albertson