May 19th, 2009

NZ Music Month

New Zealand Music Month - Day 19

For the last thirty or so years Bill Direen has been making music under various aliases and identities (said identities often being some variation on "The Builders"). Back in about 1984, a collection of his songs was released (under the alias "Bilderine") as "Split Seconds". The original record is now phenomenally expensive (see here for the sort of price it goes for on Trade Me - Record companies, are you reading this? Come on now, people want to buy your music!) but, ten or so years later, a CD of the same name (and cover art) and a different track listing was released.

There isn't a great lot of Bill Direen music up on You Tube... most annoyingly, my first choice for a Builders sample (the novelty not-quite-a-hit Alligator Song, complete with three minutes of footage of Direen standing in a service lane with a funnel on his head) is conspicous by its absence. Therefore I've been having a hunt through my CD of "Split Seconds" (which cost me about a sixth of what the record goes for!). I managed to narrow it down to three very good (and very different) songs.

Circle of Blood is probably my favourite song on the CD, but it isn't quite the sort of ambience I'm looking for tonight. That narrowed it down to two songs: Envoi and Crossword. Envoi was fun, and had all the potential to be a huge novelty hit, but in the end I chose the very retro, `sixties-garage-rock sounding Crossword. The CD liner blames this particular effort on: Bill Direen - songs, sings, engineers, guitar, piano and other noises; Allen Meek - keyboards; and Malcolm Grant - drums. Hope you like this as much as I do.