Album info

Album-Release:
2019

HRA-Release:
07.08.2019

Label: Rattle

Genre: Easy Listening

Subgenre: Soundscapes

Album including Album cover

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FLAC 96 $ 12.80
  • 1Paleozoic Dawn05:34
  • 2Bone White Moon07:48
  • 3Rorqual06:06
  • 4Echolocation03:54
  • 5Bathysphere03:57
  • 6Glacial Imprints06:20
  • 7Hinatore04:16
  • 8Ghost Shark04:49
  • 9Light Bearing (Shallowtails)05:28
  • 10Spiracles03:29
  • 11Whale Time08:05
  • 12Mesozoic Extinction06:49
  • 13Light Bearing Filament (Bonus Track)08:44
  • Total Runtime01:15:19

Info for Panthalassa



Panthalassa was the super ocean that surrounded the super continent Pangaea during the Palaeozoic-Mesozoic era.

Panthalassa, the album, is an abstract and impressionist work in which conceptual ideas are explored through the luminous ngā taonga pūoro playing of Al Fraser, the evocative atmospheric soundscapes of Neil Johnstone, and the virtuosic drones and textures created by guitar player Sam Leamy.

The album explores a unique sound world through the use of hydro-phonic recordings of migrating marine animals from Cook Strait/Raukawa. These recordings, made and supplied by NIWA, present a very rich and diverse sonic environment, which may change in the future due to the diminishing of native marine species.

Throughout the album, notions relating to the nature and experience of time, communication, and nonlinear representations of time informs the atmosphere, character, and thematic intent of this work. We can’t say whether marine creatures experience time as we do, but this project is an attempt to reflect the strangeness (to humans) of whale, dolphin and seal consciousness, as well as the singular nature and textural qualities of a unique sonic environment. Panthalassa is a response to the on-going erosion and potential loss of this environment.

Al Fraser, nga taonga puoro
Sam Leamy, guitar, effects
Neil Johnstone, soundscapes, synthesisers, sample manipulation, synthstrom deluge
Guest musicians:
Phil Boniface, double bass
Erika Grant, ocean harp
Jake Church, additional guitar
Ariana Tikao, vocals
Pete Deane, additional guitar

Recorded by Al Fraser at The Chicken Coop
Mixed and mastered by Steve Garden
Produced by Sam Leamy, Neil Johnstone and Al Fraser



Al Fraser
was born and raised in Dunedin where he learnt drums, taught himself guitar, and played in bands. He moved to Wellington in 1994 to study jazz guitar at the Massey University Conservatorium of Music, and attained a Bachelor of Music in 2000.

Since 1999 he has been a practitioner of nga taonga puoro – researching, making, and performing with the instruments. His musical ability, artistic creativity, and respect for Te Ao Maori has brought him many opportunities to collaborate with some of Aotearoa's finest artists across various musical genres, artistic disciplines, and within a diverse range of creative, cultural, and educative communities.

Al has elegantly woven toanga puoro into many projects that are recognised as being at the forefront of New Zealand arts practice and puoro Maori, through collaborations with artists such as Dr Richard Nunns, Trinity Roots, Motu Oiléain, STROMA, Bridget Douglas, NZ String Quartet, David Long, Natalia Mann, and the NZ Symphony Orchestra, and in settings that span jazz and improvised music, ambient and environmental music, film, dance, Maori and classical musics, the visual arts, and numerous recordings.

He has been a member of collaborative music projects including Tahu, The Woolshed Sessions, Oro, Shearwater Drift and Ponguru. Al was a Wild Creations Artist Resident in 2011, a Churchill Fellow 2016 and a researcher with Otago University and Hokotehi Moriori Trust 2017-2019.

Sam Leamy
is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work spans many genres and musical platforms. He sat his Bachelor of Music Composition (specialising in Instrumental Composition and Sonic Arts) and Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) at Victoria University, and has since composed contemporary works for a variety of instrumental ensembles, notably the New Zealand String Quartet and Zephyr Wind Quintet. During his tenure at university, he participated as a composer twice at the CANZ Composer Workshop in Nelson and was a finalist in the NZSM Composer Competition in both 2016 & 2017.

Sam has been a member of numerous bands over the last 15 years, including the avant-garde pop duo Spork, and atmospheric rock heavyweights Opium Eater. He has also conceived a number of acousmatic and electroacoustic works as a solo artist, some of which were developed for multichannel systems.

In recent years Sam has worked as a film composer, writing scores for a number of short films as well as co-composing the music for Hang Time, a feature length film that has been well received in local and international film festivals. As a performer he specialises in textural guitar playing, aided by the use of effects pedals.

Neil Johnstone
debut release on Rattle, Shearwater Drift (2018, a project he made with sound engineer Steve Burridge and taonga puoro player Al Fraser), has frequently been played on radio stations in Europe and the USA, and played in its entirety on Radio New Zealand. The critical response to the album has been very enthusiastic, which, for an album that is so single-minded in its sonic-art aspirations, is no mean feat.

The fact is, it’s a very beautiful piece of work, even if it doesn’t immediately resemble ‘compositions’ in the traditional sense. The soundscapes that he, Steve, Al, and the other contributors have created are wonderfully colourful, textural, and evocative glimpses into worlds that may seem foreign at a glance, but they are remarkably, perhaps even very personally familiar up close.

This album contains no booklet.

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